By on May 25, 2021
chief communications officer

Audi’s Emilie Cotter

Hyundai and Audi both filled high-level communications posts this week. Audi promoted Emilie Cotter, while at Hyundai Sarah Fullwood arrived devoid of automotive experience.

Audi of America hired Cotter in September as director of corporate and brand communications. Chief brand officer at Marketplace, and SVP and partner at FleishmanHilliard, Cotter earlier headed corporate and brand communications for Lucasfilm.

Cotter will lead Audi of America’s communications strategy. Corporate, product, and lifestyle communications are her responsibility, along with government affairs. She wil define and lead communications with the media, dealers, internal and external partners, along with state and federal politicos.

Audi promoted chief communications officer Tara Rush to SVP and chief marketing officer in December. Rush oversaw communications until Cotter’s promotion. In her new post, Cotter will report to Audi of America presence Daniel Weissland.

Meanwhile, at Hyundai North America, Sarah Fullwood, a colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, has been named director of public relations and communications.

Fullwood oversees Hyundai Motor North America, Genesis Motor North America, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, and Hyundai’s Washington, D.C. communications. She reports to Dana White, Hyundai Motor North America chief communications officer.

“Sarah’s extensive experience driving change, building teams and managing large, diverse organizations will hasten the growth and performance of Hyundai, Genesis and the entire North American enterprise,” said White.

“Hyundai is evolving beyond a traditional OEM and therefore requires different disciplines and perspectives gained outside of the industry.”

A strategic communications officer for the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, public affairs officer for General James Mattis, and more recently Dana White’s senior military assistant, Fullwood was also an assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson for the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Fullwood led operations across a variety of time zones and geographic regions, as a U.S. European Command battle watch captain and as the Marine Corps Wargaming Division deputy director.

The automotive industry’s complexities are difficult for those with a clear professional trajectory, let alone a newcomer with no experience in this field whatsoever.

[Image: Audi]

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12 Comments on “New Communicators at Audi and Hyundai...”


  • avatar
    DerekB

    Riveting automotive journalism

  • avatar
    Mackey

    So the one joining Hyundai is going to struggle due to her being ‘devoid of automotive experience’, but the one who joined Audi only eight months ago from outside of the auto industry is free of the same concern and comments?

    I’m not saying that for a role like this a ton of experience is a burden or a gift in these evolving times, but armchair editorials free of points to support the concerns seem like quota content and little else.

    • 0 avatar

      More satire than a point of fact. Neither have a wealth of automotive experience. Researching what I could on their backgrounds, there was nothing to indicate they like automobiles. None of that appears to be important or even relevant. Having worked directly for three OEMs, it was certainly a priority then, but not now. At least not at the level they are both entering.

      It was a toss up between giving our readers a behind-the-scenes look at who is running the show at these automakers, and how that may affect what vehicles are produced, or discussing the ‘Fast & The Furious’ Toyota Supra that is about to cross the auction block for an untold amount. Movie cars or corporate execs? Take your pick.

  • avatar
    aja8888

    We are entering the land of pretty smiles to sell cars….We already have the Toyota lady. Must be an EEOC thing. Next will be the LBGTQ folks. No liability here as none of them will know anything about the cars.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If you showed me a picture of Cotter with no context, and asked me “What does this woman drive?” I’d guess “Audi Q5” without hesitation. So probably a good hire.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    Don’t fool yourself, all are graduates of the “Ministry of Disinformation “.

    Confuse the customer, garble the message, and focus solely on the quarterly dividend.

    If in doubt, see: Sears, SAAB, Saturn, and Suzuki.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    New people in the BS slinging business. Goody.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The automotive industry’s complexities are difficult for those with a clear professional trajectory, let alone a newcomer with no experience in this field whatsoever.”

    The industry experts with car experience don’t impress me, either, so what’s the difference? These people weren’t hired to design cars or change oil.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    The govt relations part is where the real work happens, putting out news releases and running press-junkets is low-hanging-fruit.

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