Ewanick And GM: The Leaks Continue, Someone Fetch Depends

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
ewanick and gm the leaks continue someone fetch depends

If this feels like the Manchester United and Ewanick day, so be it. If we’d pass up these morsels, we’d be accused of selective reporting. As a result of the torrent of leaks, we are now led to believe that the Manchester deal is what the Business Insider calls “one of the biggest marketing contractual screwups of all times.”

According to the leaks to Bloomberg …

“GM leaders had to ask for Ewanick’s resignation after they perceived that he failed to make clear some details of the contract to the senior management team, the people said. As a result, the leaders didn’t know the true cost of the United deal, worth about $300 million to be on the jerseys, one of the people said. GM plans to honor the arrangement, which was altered from what Ewanick originally crafted, the people said. “

What is this, amateur hour? Apparently, someone is trying to push a story of the chief marketing man surreptitiously signing a $300 million ( according to Bloomberg,) or $600 million ( according to Reuters) deal, then someone finds out, the chief marketing man is fired, the contract is changed and signed two days later. Is this what we are supposed to believe?

This is not how this works. At least not in a normal company. There a deal sheets drawn up, and reviewed by Purchasing, which usually wants a better deal. Controllers get involved. Budget request are made, contracts are drawn up, multiple revisions are discussed between lawyers, multiple signatures are made. Proudly leaking a story of GM agreeing to a sponsorship deal without knowing its price is admitting that GM is run by the Keystone Kops.

Advertising Age sees it the same way:

People close to GM say they’d be surprised that, in a company with so many checks and balances, that a sponsorship deal would get through if it wasn’t airtight and squeaky clean.

“I find it hard to believe that that would be the impetus for Joel leaving the organization, because there are just too many processes and signature authority needed that would eliminate,” one executive close to GM told Ad Age. “It’d be almost impossible, and given Sarbanes Oxley there is so much oversight on all these deals that go on. I couldn’t believe that GM would be so lax with their controls…especially since the whole bankruptcy situation. It could be GM not looking to have egg on their face because they hired the wrong person to start with.”

These leaks are shockingly naive, and they hurt the company. If an executive gets caught double-dealing, then you quietly let him go, or even better, tie him down with a two year contract to keep his mouth as shut as yours. If the CEO really forgot to ask “now what is this supposed to cost us?” then please, don’t leak it.

This is not an Ewanick disaster. This is a Selim Bingol disaster. The job of a PR chief is to make the CEO stand above all. These leaks make Akerson look incompetent.

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  • MLS MLS on Aug 01, 2012

    I like the accompanying pic. Incidentally, those so inclined may visit http://thegreatamericantryon.com to obtain a free sample of either men's or women's Depends. After I got over the hilarity of the Wes Welker/Lisa Rinna ad campaign that aired during the NCAA basketball finals, I (anonymously) sent samples to all of my friends.

  • Domestic Hearse Domestic Hearse on Aug 01, 2012

    And so the bashing of this deal by GM has begun on political blogs... http://freebeacon.com/government-motors-spends-600m-on-uk-soccer-promo/ This, via a link on DrudgeReport. Which means, millions of eyeballs today. "General Motors plans to shell out as much as $600 million to sponsor a European soccer team despite owing $27 billion to American taxpayers." GM, informed this was going to happen by their politician advisors, have been trying to dance their way out of this tone-deaf deal, starting with firing Ewanick. And denouncing him publicly. Loudly. And curiously unprofessionally. Call it a "conspiracy theory" if it helps support a challenging theory (labeling opposing views, or argument by slogan, if you will). However, it won't be long before the MSM picks this political nugget up and runs with it. And the GM bus running over Ewanick will grow bigger and louder by the day.

    • Geeber Geeber on Aug 01, 2012

      Domestic Hearse, I believe that a review of my prior posts on various topics would show that I am hardly a liberal or a stalwart supporter of President Obama. But I truly believe that this is the result of a clash of personalities, along with inept public relations on the part of GM's executive team. I doubt that Ewanick negotiated this deal in private, and signed the papers committing GM to it, without the knowledge of anyone else on the executive team. The alternative is that Akerson and other executives only came to the realization this deal might not play well in Peoria AFTER the paperwork had been signed. Sorry, but even I can't believe that GM leadership is THAT inept.

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