By on August 8, 2012

The latest chapter of the Joel Ewanick saga is unfolding courtesy of Bloomberg. Our long-suffering marketing chief appears to have been sacked in part because he committed the heinous crime of buying cheap furniture.

The first, and apparently most serious charge leveled against Ewanick

“…a whistle-blower stepped forward and the Detroit-based company determined Ewanick was spreading the price of the agreement with English soccer team Manchester United among several different marketing budgets to avoid his boss’s spending limits, the people said. When confronted, Ewanick denied it, they said.”

Horse-trading of this sort is nothing new in large corporations. The Manchester United deal was an astute move given the audience involved (said to be 5 times that of the Super Bowl) and the role it would play in elevating Chevrolet’s status in markets like Europe and Asia.

Even though the target market was spot on, the notorious contempt many Americans have for soccer may have led to poor optics; spending millions of taxpayer dollars to sponsor a soccer team, rather than the Superbowl, may have been poor optics, especially in an election year.

This line of thinking appears to have been poison for Ewanick during his GM tenure. Dan Gorrell, president of consulting firm AutoStrategem told the news service

“While Joel was a risk-taker and big-picture kind of guy, he was not real concerned about the details and that indeed may have been his downfall …his leaving may suggest that GM will take a more conservative, business-as-usual approach in the future.”

An exmple of this sort of thinking? Ewanick committed the sin of not spending more than $2,000 of his $50,000 budget for office furniture – something that Bloomberg charitably categorized as “…an early example of Ewanick going around normal channels…”.  These sorts of idiosyncracies, as well as using four-letter words in public while conversing with one of GM’s ad partners, led GM CEO Dan Akerson to make Ewanick display the “Farley award”, “… a mock-up of Ford’s blue oval logo that has “Farley” instead of “Ford” in the center…” as punishment for his cursing.

Farley, as we all remember, refers to Jim Farley, the Ford marketing chief who famously said “Fuck GM.” If I were Joel Ewanick, I’d have said the same thing when confronted with this puerile grandstanding.

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59 Comments on “The Dastardly Details Of Joel Ewanick’s Downfall...”


  • avatar
    PintoFan

    Surprise surprise, after weeks of the blogs building castles in the clouds it turns out that Mr. Ewanick was canned for the same reasons anybody else could be fired from a high-level management position. Circumventing internal financial controls in any major corporation is bound to get you a pink slip; Mr. Ewanick wasn’t above the law, it seems. The issue with the furniture budget isn’t that he spent only $2,000; the issue is that he spent that $2,000 in a way that would obscure those charges (at least initially) to the expense department. Of course, that was a minor drop in the bucket compared to his other shenanigans.

    Puerile grandstanding indeed, when you’ve staked so much on whining about GM’s “ossified” management culture and lack of accountability that you have to invent reasons for why this guy should have kept his job.

  • avatar
    dima

    I guess Joel was a guy who did not followed business as usual at GM.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Derek, I usually agree with you, but this time not completely. I’m sure Joel was cut no slack partly because he generally bucked the system, hadn’t made friends, and championed a deal that got criticized. BUT, if the version reported by Automotive News is accurate (admittedly a big if), Joel gave them little choice. Allocating expenses among cost centers is SOP, but doing so to avoid approval thresholds pretty much gets you fired in any disciplined organization.

    • 0 avatar
      dima

      GM does not come across as disciplined organization. There must be more to this story.

      • 0 avatar
        go-away-GM

        There is more to this story. A lot more…

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        As I noted before, some analysts are projecting that by 2020, there will be no GM to worry about in any fashion, much less whether the soccer deal pans out!

        But you are right, Dima, …. there is just something about GM’s behavior internally (as far as we can tell from the management reshuffle); and its behavior externally (with respect to Opel in public), that is hardly “disciplined”. Certainly not first class. I hope Corvette survives an an independent company.

        ———-

    • 0 avatar

      Anybody who gets excited about executives juggling budgets, even trading with fellow executives needs to get another job.

      Anybody who seriously believes or wants to make believe that a big sponsorship deal is done without the CEO knowing what it costs also should look for other employment.

      Something would be seriously wrong with a company if a $600 million deal can be cut with one signature.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You hit the bulls eye with that observation.

        The inference that a deal of this size could get cut without the CEO’s knowledge is absolute nonsense. Anyone who has worked in a management position in a corporation should sense that this alleged explanation contains a large component of bovine emissions.

      • 0 avatar
        yesthatsteve

        Juggling budgets, horse trading, and shifting costs are technically grounds for termination, yes.

        However, they are most often used in corporate America as justification for a termination whose REAL cause is harder to document, quantify, or defend.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The Man United deal was so absolutely terrible that GM, er, went through with it, anyway.

    The official explanation doesn’t pass the smell test.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      It’s not about whether or not the Man U deal was good for the company. It’s about controlling a loose cannon who considers himself above basic financial controls. If he had gotten approval the way he was supposed to, then he might still be working for GM.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “It’s about controlling a loose cannon who considers himself above basic financial controls.”

        I take it that you’ve never dealt with this sort of thing in your professional life.

        Everybody with some level of authority does this stuff. Money is fungible.

      • 0 avatar
        go-away-GM

        He was never above the “basic financial controls”.
        However, he was a “loose cannon” who simply refused to go about his work “the GM way”.
        If you do not assimilate to the borg you will either go insane or simply quit. Ewanick fought the good fight, a losing fight, and eventually quit.
        If you have not been inside GM you can’t possibly imagine the culture of apathy and “we do it this way because that is the way things used to be” mentality that exists. Nothing, absolutely, nothing has changed at the “New GM”. It is only a matter of time…

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        “If you have not been inside GM you can’t possibly imagine the culture of apathy and “we do it this way because that is the way things used to be” mentality that exists. Nothing, absolutely, nothing has changed at the “New GM”. It is only a matter of time…”

        You obviously haven’t spent any time in today’s “new” US Army either. The same levels of apathy, insistance that if something looks good, it must be good, and fierce resistance to change no matter what the cost is rampant and inexorable. Oh, and so is the feeling that with rank, comes priviledge that is, as a rule, to be exploited.

  • avatar
    MeaCulpa

    So I’m going to neglect the bigger story and nitpick a bit. 50 grand for office furniture?! What the fudge GM!? If you had placed such demands on fit and finish in your vehicles instead of your offices maybe you wouldn’t have to come crawling to the taxpayer.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Maybe it’s a REALLY big office…

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        Maybe the man-u deal was all about renting the pitch as an office for Ewanick and Akerman got all pissy when he discovered that a pitch is larger then the superbowl field he’d imagined as his office?

    • 0 avatar
      go-away-GM

      Yes, there are “requirements” for office furniture at GM. IKEA does not meet those “requirements” from purchasing or facilities.
      You don’t have any experience with the UAW requirements for moving furniture, let alone purchasing furniture, at GM, do you?
      I do. It is true that we were NOT ALLOWED to move trash cans from under our desks before the maids vacuumed the carpeting. Yes. Read that again. It sounds utterly insane doesn’t it? Well, it is absolutely true.
      We were NOT ALLOWED, based on UAW work rules to move a chair from one conference to the other. We did it anyway but we were warned…

      • 0 avatar
        dima

        Interesting, thank you for the inside story. Now, how on earth could you share same air with UAW? Is there is a rule on how to breath in the presence of UAW personnel?

      • 0 avatar
        go-away-GM

        dima. No rule against breathing the same air. Although they don’t like you to be around. I chose to get out the rotten stench of a corpse that is the New GM. I couldn’t stand the smell of the air I was breathing.
        GM gets what it deserves from here out.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @go-away-GM….So it was UAW people that moved trash cans. Okay….then the “maids” came in to vacum? Where the “maids” UAW ?

        I spent 36 plus years at GM. I’ve worked in the plant, on the dccks,even in the front office. I’ve worked side by side with hourly,and salary people.

        My B.S.sensor is beeping.

        Yes, we did have lines of demarcation, for the most part,it was recognized. We didn’t do salary work,they didn’t do ours.

      • 0 avatar
        ABankThatMakesCars

        Mikey – Why is your BS detector blinking? Moving wastebaskets was not a UAW job, but close to it. If you were moving to a new desk and had one banker box to carry you couldn’t! It had to be moved by UAW. That would take a week. Yes a week to move one box.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    When you have a management style that works as well as GM’s, you really don’t want to have someone deviating from the playbook.

  • avatar
    rnc

    If the GM board is really independent and smart (or even if they need some gentle government prodding), there is a recent GE retiree who pushed himself out by being to successful and building his division to three times the size of when he took over (Power, not one of the finance thingies) who would probably (just like Mullally would really like the chance to prove himself, just as Mullally realized he would never be CEO of Boeing, this man realized that by time J.E. reached 65 it would be to late for him to be CEO of GE (he would have been 59). Just a thought, that there is a more than viable candidate, from an engineering background who would could take over for Akerson at this critical time.

  • avatar

    Although the “Chevy runs deep” slogan is about the most idiotic I can think of, GM needs Ewanick more than he needs them.

    100% GM’s loss.

    .
    +I’m not sure exactly what I would have done with the Farley award if some low-rent CEO decided he was going to make an example of me, but I think it might involve Akerson going to the ER.

  • avatar

    With these kinds of abilities, Joel Ewanick’s next job could be head of the Federal Reserve.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Two weeks before Ewanick was canned, Akerson publicly raved about the guy.

    Two weeks after Ewanick was canned, Akerson stated that all of Ewanick’s decisions were team decisions, and the marketing plan going forward would not be changed in Ewanick’s absence.

    So…

    Ewanick was okay before he got canned, and his overall plan is still fine after he got canned.

    As others point out, including Pch101 and Bertel, if you think what Ewanick was doing with the financials regarding ManU are not SOP within GM, and were not approved at the highest levels (at least with a wink and a nod) then you have not done business inside the RenCen or at similar Fortune 100 firms.

    I continue to maintain, as I have from the moment he got fired, GM had to sacrifice a big name on the alter of public opinion after their tone-deaf move to commit to a large foreign marketing spend during an election cycle (especially in light of recent bailout history). Period.

    Did the ManU deal make sense from a business stand-point. You bet. Cost per impression, globally (especially with jersey sales and other collectables) orders of magnitude cheaper than the SuperBowl investment. We’re talking billions of eyeballs in areas of the world where GM would like to make Chevy it’s leading brand. That’s why GM still went through with the deal after Ewanick was ousted. But he still had to go because this deal looked so bad on the surface to American taxpayers.

    A chickens**t move to say the least.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “I continue to maintain, as I have from the moment he got fired, GM had to sacrifice a big name on the alter of public opinion after their tone-deaf move to commit to a large foreign marketing spend during an election cycle (especially in light of recent bailout history). Period.”

      That’s ridiculous, it’s much more likely there was a personality conflict – he was abrasive, “not a team player” yada yada. The simplest explanation is usually the correct.

    • 0 avatar
      go-away-GM

      You write Ewanick was “fired”. Don’t be so certain about that.
      Remember, Ewanick was “walked out” immediately upon giving his resignation. A manager at GM has the discretion to “walk out” immediately any employee who gives notice of resignation.
      Ewanick was not “fired”.
      There is a lot going on at GM right now at the RenCen and there is more to come. Those folks who came in to “change the culture” are frustrated. Old GM rules the New GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I am a bit unhappy that you have tried to link my points to your nonsensical conspiracy theories.

      Try using Occam’s Razor for a change. There was a personality clash between Akerson and Ewanik.

      -The office furniture anecdote
      -The Facebook incident
      -The profanity incident, which led to the “Farley Award”

      Those are all examples of a guy who is perceived as being rough around the edges and who can’t shut up when the CEO deems it to be appropriate.

      And those are just the ones that we know about. You can bet that there are other moments in their relationship that would have reinforced that impression.

      The “Farley Award” sounds like one of those jokes that isn’t a joke. That tells you a lot about how Akerson perceived Ewanik, and that perception obviously wasn’t entirely favorable.

      If Uncle Sam gave a rat’s backside about the Man United deal, then there would be no Man United deal at all. Ditto if Akerson had a problem with it. If the Man United deal was the problem, then they would have punted on it.

      • 0 avatar
        Domestic Hearse

        When Ewanick left the building, the first, official response from GM: He failed to live up to expectations of a GM employee. Odd. Weird. Not how it’s done, especially in Detroit. I think you said so yourself. It was unusual.

        Sources in the company quickly latched on to: The ManU deal. He screwed it up. He didn’t disclose the facts. His numbers weren’t right. The bosses wouldn’t approve this. And you, like me, said: Yeah, right. Not credible.

        But here’s a curious bit: That was the story coming out of GM and they were sticking to it. Not “officially” mind you, but that was the word. Oh, sure, plenty of people who didn’t like Ewanick could have been the source (and I’m sure some weren’t his fans). But if Akerson didn’t or doesn’t want something said, it won’t be said. Akerson very well knew – and I will bet encouraged if not directed – the ManU leaks.

        They could have used any number of stories about Ewanick’s dismissal. Poor market share in the US did not improve, but declined further. Poor reception to the new agency work for Chevy and Cadillac. Model inventory problems. All of which are true — and believable.

        It’s only now we’re given stories about furniture. Profanity and Farley Awards. And yet, still, the ManU deal is the lead story.

        Why is that? Why is it when even you yourself claim that senior GM leadership had to know the details of the deal, had to have had it thoroughly vetted. And the bit about agreeing to the deal after they publicly claimed that “had they only known” they wouldn’t have done it? Smokescreen.

        As for Uncle Sam giving a rat’s bottom about the ManU deal. In practice, they don’t give one. Could care less. The timing of it, the content of it, the spirit of it, they do give a mouse’s behind about. It’s about perception in politics. Not reality.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “When Ewanick left the building, the first, official response from GM: He failed to live up to expectations of a GM employee. Odd. Weird.”

        That’s correct. It’s meanspirited and irrational, and not very corporate. Precisely the sort of stuff that people say when things get personal and they’re too pissed off to think straight.

        One more time — if Uncle Sam was secretly or GM was genuinely upset about the deal, then they would have killed it. But guess what — GM signed it. So much for the evil powers of the guv’mint, which apparently is unable to stop the Man U juggernaut.

      • 0 avatar
        Domestic Hearse

        History Recap: Ewanick was directing marketing at the up and coming, new hot property, Hyundai. Under his tenure, they launched some decent ad work, including the Hyundai Assurance program (Lose your job? No problem.) It was spot-on for the times and won sales, not to mention awards.

        Mild shock waves went through the industry when it was announced Ewanick was leaving Hyundai for Nissan. Then, a few weeks later, a bigger shock. He was leaving Nissan for GM! (This, after not even enough time to find the executive washroom in Nissan HQ, or take a mad hop in the private jet to Tokyo to nosh on sushi with Carlos).

        Somebody in GM really, really wanted this guy. Someone big. Someone willing to pay big.

        Upon Ewanick’s arrival at GM, he went through the place like Bufford T Pusser’s club.

        He ended the almost-100 year relationship between Chevy and Campbell-Ewald (a Gordian knot of incestuous relationships if there ever was one). He reallocated billions — BILLIONS — of dollars of ad funds to new ad agencies. He consolidated billions — BILLIONS — of dollars of media buys.

        Yet your argument is: Ewanick made someone (or many someones) mad at GM and therefore, they looked for a way to let him go.

        Wait what? His whole reason for being at GM was to shake things up. To rock the boat. The better question than, which person’s toes did he step on might be: Who DIDN’T get their toes stomped? Who didn’t get their sacred cows gored? That’s why he was there. His marching orders were from the very tippy top — the very big people who brought him to GM in the first place.

        Yet, he was fired because he mismanaged the ManU deal. He had a few million in the wrong ledger column. We both said, Yeah, right. After given the ad checkbook for billions, this? Hmmm.

        Now, the company is expanding: Well, he spent too much on his office. He swore in public. He made people mad.

        Yeah, right.

        And I never claimed the guv’ment was evil. I just said it was political (which I thought didn’t need explanation). I never said they wanted the ManU deal killed, they merely wanted a head on a stick. A story to tell to make it better (We would have NEVER done that, no never…not us. It was THAT guy. Now where’s the pen?).

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Your recap missed that Ewanick was working at GM prior to Akerson. Akerson inherited him from his predecessor.

        Akerson has a reputation for being controlling. Ewanick communicates the impression of being a square peg shoved into a round corporate hole.

        In a struggle between the square peg and the guy who drills the holes, it’s obvious who’s going to win. Maybe you’ve never worked in a nasty corporation, but variations of this theme are quite commonplace, and Uncle Sam doesn’t have anything to do with it.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Domestic Hearse…

        You noted: “Wait what? His whole reason for being at GM was to shake things up. To rock the boat. The better question than, which person’s toes did he step on might be: Who DIDN’T get their toes stomped? Who didn’t get their sacred cows gored? That’s why he was there. His marching orders were from the very tippy top — the very big people who brought him to GM in the first place.”

        What that says is this: it is impossible to remove the “Old Guard” from its entrenched position in GM. The corporate culture is the same as always, and the bailout plus discipline was just a façade. It’s business as usual, and the more flamboyant sorts of folks will take a beating regardless of their real or perceived transgressions.

        ————-

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        D Hearse: “Yet your argument is: Ewanick made someone (or many someones) mad at GM and therefore, they looked for a way to let him go.”

        Is this the proper time to remind folks of the Henry Ford II – Iacocca relationship? Lee was President of Ford Motor Company, in 1978, they achieved their most profitable annual result up to that point. Yet this was also the year that HF2 fired Lee.

        Ever since arriving in Dearborn, Lee had been known to go around the boss’ back a time or two, and was also known to see himself as the “real” brains behind the operation. Certainly Lee was not canned because of the performance of the business.

        HF2 famously stuck to his “Don’t complain, don’t explain” rule, and refused to explain his reasons … it took several years before he finally did.

        “Sometimes you don’t like somebody,” is the reason HF2 gave for firing Lee.

        It is not too hard for me to believe that Ewanick either forgot who was boss, or eventually was not liked by the boss.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      You should google ‘chevrolet ends relationship with campbell-ewald’ and look at the dates of those news stories…then look at Ewanick’s hire date with GM.

      And, please answer this. Supposing your theory is correct, why would the US govt not want Chevy to try to increase their global market share (especially in Asia) with a marketing agreement targeted to those areas?

    • 0 avatar
      ABankThatMakesCars

      Ewanick probably tried to sell this idea and the Finance penny pinchers and nickle and dimers at GM said no (because they are naive and shortsighted).

      So he took matters into his own hands. That is the ONLY way to get something good done at GM.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I remember years ago when I graduated from college I interviewed GM truck/bus division in Pontiac MI. The big thing was that every ‘buyer’ had to work saturday morning from 8 to 12 even if they didn’t need to. In other words it was required to show up dressed properly in a business suit and be there all morning putting in the time. GM seemed like an archaic out of date corporation back then and it doesn’t seem like it has changed that much even now. My cousin’s husband went to work for GM, suffered a heart attack when he was in his 40′s and had to retire early. I am sure that working at GM had alot to do with his health problems. The earlier these idiots go out of business or get broken up/sold off, the better off most of us will be. I did business GM in later years and had several contacts with UAW people. I knew years ago that they would not survive in a really free market system. They are just too corrupted and inefficient. Just like our government.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Does anyone else think there’s a disconnect when a guy with a 50k furniture budget is trying to sell cars to folks making 50k a year. Maybe GM will switch to cheap hex wrenches and stick figure owners manuals.
    go-away-GM Thanks for reports from the inside.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @el scotta….I’d be willing to bet “that go-away-GM” is a disgrutled,bitter, former contract worker.

      FYI… I know of at least two more here,that come from the same background.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ Mikey I never thought about a contract employee. I mostly did my inspection work in parts plants and very few assembly plants. I only remember seeing contractors at assembly plants.
        I do appreciate you comments because you’ve been there and done that.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      ‘Gee I never thought of that’

      Really, after you praise some random dude for ‘reports from the inside’…good lord.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        sunridge place I had forgotten about GM contract workers. They live in a walking purgatory of uncertainty. I’ll still listen more to someone who’s associated with the industry. There are many on here who drive by a plant or can Google maps where a plant is and will pontificate on how it really operates. I make mistakes and change my mind, sorry I’m not like you.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        I think the point was that it was kind of funny that you believed some random guy on here with a few stories and ‘thanked’ him for the stories from the ‘inside’ then someone pointed out that he might have an agenda. So, a contract worker can’t have facts? No, the issue was that guy’s clear BS…no matter who he may or may not have worked for.

        I change my mind often except when I discuss facts on TTAC. Facts don’t change.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I think much will be gleaned from when and with whom Mr. Ewanick next finds employment. Today’s speculation is virtually groundless.

    If he finds work quickly, and within the auto industry, then he’ll be exonerated and GM will look bad.

    If he becomes a pariah without employment, then GM will be vindicated and Mr. Ewanick will look bad.

  • avatar

    Marketing directors have a short half life. I think the firing of Dave Lyons, who was supposed to head styling at GM Europe, is more intriguing. GM has leaked that he was involved in “gross improprieties” but otherwise there’s been no news. Pete DeLorenzo says that it was a serious thing but nobody’s talking, including Lyons.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Surely GM doesn’t force their execs to buy $50,000 on furniture. I’m sure the old stuff is plenty fine enough. Please someone tell me I’m right and that GM is not that egotistic.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Eh. It’s hard to believe an organization that was unwilling to can the CEO that led them into bankruptcy fired this guy for anything besides refusing the kiss the right ring.

  • avatar
    sunridge place

    Good lord…the whole idea that Ewanick was some sort of brillant maverick ready to change the world at GM only to be held back by dinosaurs is just a bit too much.

    Lets step back a bit and take a look at some of his accomplishments.

    1. Hired new Chevy ad firm…they moved from ‘American Revolution’ to ‘Chevy Runs Deep’. Some of the commercials have been decent…but the tag line…meh. What a shocking maverick…a guy who changed ad firms! Tag line?…name a car company with a good one lately?

    2. It was too hard to keep up with Cadillac’s ad changes..plus, they had very little product until the last few months. Have no idea what influence he had on the current Cadillac agency…the ATS ads on now? Decent..nothing earth-shattering…but good I guess.

    3. Buick ads….they’ve been all over the place over the years and have been all over the place recently…the latest ‘celebrity’ ads aren’t brillant…but, not like car company ads are brillant often.

    4. GMC ads? I have no idea.

    So, as a brillant maverick marketer in the US he’s not such a maverick…he changed a few ad firms…a few new ad campaigns came out. Somehow, Hyundai has managed to survive and keep the lights on since he left as well.

    So, then he’s global CMO…job duties to help spread Chevy/Cadillac around the world. He makes some needed changes consolidating some of the global work….oh my god!!!! what a maverick!!!!…geez GM’s been doing a bit of needed global product cleanup too…not like Ewanick re-invented the wheel here.

    Chevy brand is doing pretty well in other areas..especially China, Thailand, and other parts of Asia. I kind of think that’s because of better product…not better marketing. Google Chevy Thailand sales and you’ll see. Look at Chevy China sales. It not like Ewanick had a say in the global product pipeline.

    So, the guy may not be the most likable guy. He (according to the story) has a few small odd deals that don’t smell good.

    Then, Man U deal comes….here’s a guess. I think the sponsorship is a good idea…first car company associated with Man U in a big way that I see–although AP Honda (Thai Honda motorcycle division) has a deal with Man U as well. To get that sponsorship, the $$ are big…you have to outbid the current holder and things get a bit out of control.

    I’m gonna guess that an exec at his level has a certain spend that doesn’t need CEO/board level approval…especially when its within his marketing budget. And, when you get above that level…it goes to the CEO/board. Gonna guess that the CEO/board was aware of the potential of the deal and supported it in theory. What happened after that seems to be interesting….why would he not disclose the whole cost of the deal? That seems to be what happened….he used several budgets to keep the deal under an amount that requires CEO/Board approval?? That’s kind of what it seems like.

    Joel Ewanick….a maverick ahead of his time at GM unable to fight the good fight…held back against his will by the burdens of bureaucracy….trying like hell to sell Chevy’s only to be held back by the old guard???

    Come on….he wasn’t a moron…he did some needed cleanup to help move global marketing/branding forward. His hires for marketing campaigns weren’t terrible nor were they terribly innovative.

    He obviously did something unusual in the Man U deal…those details are interesting but I hardly buy the story of a brillant maverick held back by the burdens of old GM.

    As far as US sales and market share causing his demise? GM is really early on in a product upgrade…their market share will NOT grow signifcantly in the US. Their best shot is carving out a profitable piece of the US business and look for opportunites to grow Chevy around the world and Cadillac in China. Where they have new product in the US, they’ve done OK with carving out profitable shares. They will expand that into some new areas in the next few years.

    Ewanick wasn’t a product guy at all (nor was he supposed to be)

    He screwed up one too many times and no one had his back after what seems to be a fairly shady deal…not that Man U is shady..but how the deal went from idea to execution.

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      +1

      I am no fan of GM and its current (or past) management team, but the knee jerk martyrization of JE on TTAC is pretty simplistic. It is highly likely he broke some serious code of conduct rules that large companies post Sarbanes-Oxley have to exhibit zero tolerance in upholding. Playing games to avoid financial controls are at the core of many shareholder rights lawsuits, and when it is done by high level executives, its very visible.

  • avatar
    econobiker

    What would Lutz say about this?

    Just askin’…

    GM needs to go to Walmart’s HQ and see what type of furniture they have laying around…

    “An early example of Ewanick going around normal channels, one he spoke of frequently in interviews, was a decision to forgo GM’s typical process for buying furniture and instead go with bargain retailer Ikea for his office at the company’s headquarters, spending $2,000 when he was allowed about $50,000.”

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I find this article not believable… not because the facts are in dispute, but because it’s not believable that this is why JE was fired.

    Joel is either the fall guy for going against a marketing decision by the higher ups or he grabbed someone’s kiester.


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