The move comes as Carat promotes Mr. Feuling to the newly created role of chief client officer for Carat USA and global client president overseeing relationships with global clients based in North American with the exception of General Motors. Mr. Feuling took over the GM account when Carat President Martin Cass decided to leave the shop to pursue his MBA full-time.
As the third lead on the General Motors business in two years, Mr. Crowther's appointment might signal unrest on the account. But according to Carat, Mr. Feuling's move was in the cards. He had moved to Detroit from San Francisco to run the account, leaving his family behind on the West Coast. He'll return to San Francisco in his new role.
The hire has been vetted by General Motors, the agency said. It's a big job, and on paper Mr. Crowther is well suited to the task. He'll move from Singapore to Detroit, where he already has a home due to a past steeped in automotive experience. He'll report to Nigel Morris, CEO of Americas and EMEA for Carat parent Aegis Media.
Mr. Crowther spent a few years at Carat early in his career and has since worked on a number of global automotive accounts. He was most recently CEO of Asia Pacific for WPP's MediaCom. He previously served as co-founder and CEO-Americas and Asia Pacific at Omnicom-backed agency Davinci, which at the time managed global media for Chrysler and Mercedes Benz as well as Mitsubishi Motors in North America.
"I can only offer Alex a massive note of thanks, as his dedication and tremendous commercial capability have helped us fuel tremendous growth in the APAC region," said MediaCom CEO Stephen Allan. "Alex has personally overseen a very positive transition alongside his successor, Mark Heap, and we wish him only continued success back in the U.S."
Mr. Crowther is joining an account that's seen its fair share of drama and change. After winning the business in January 2012, Carat built a new office in Detroit to house the account's hundreds of employees. But GM CMO Joel Ewanick soon eliminated a big platform from the shop's options (and positioned the marketer as a bit of a bully) when he said Facebook ads don't work just as the social network prepared to go public.
That same month, Dentsu announced plans to acquire Carat parent group Aegis. Mr. Ewanick left GM a year later, with the facts around his departure still blurry at best. (Industry executives have pointed to his commitment to an expensive sponsorship deal with soccer team Manchester United.) Early this year, GM said it would return to Facebook advertising.
In 2012, GM spent $3.07 billion on total U.S. advertising, half of which went to measured media, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. Its worldwide measured media spending was $3.21 billion.