NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Deborah Wahl Meyer, former VP-chief marketing officer of Chrysler, has joined Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based home-building company Pulte Homes as senior VP-CMO, a newly created position.
Ms. Meyer is charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive brand strategy in the wake of Pulte Homes' recent merger with Centex Corp., another home builder, and she will oversee the alignment of sales, marketing and home-buying experiences for all Pulte Homes, Centex and Del Webb brands.
"Our goal is to focus on the customer and use branding to accelerate our path to profitability," she said in an e-mail regarding her marketing-leadership and brand-strategy goals. "There is always opportunity to increase sales and share when you focus on the customer and position for their needs. We have a great example with the Del Webb brand where we attract significantly more traffic because people know what to expect and know their living experience will deliver what they're looking for by choosing that brand.
"Additionally, now is the time to do this. Brands that invest in challenging times reap the rewards in the future," she said.
She will report to Chairman-CEO Richard Dugas Jr., who said in a statement, "Deborah is a recognized and respected global marketing executive and we are thrilled for her to join our team at this exciting time."
As previously reported in Advertising Age, Ms. Meyer, who was once Chrysler's top marketer and was heralded as a change agent and good choice for the company at the time of her hiring, left the automaker in December 2008 when her position was eliminated as part of a restructuring effort. While at Chrysler, she watched the ad budget shrink from $866 million in U.S. measured media in the first nine months of 2007 to $579 million in the same period a year later. Ms. Meyer, a Detroit native who also worked for Ford Motor Co., had joined Chrysler in summer 2007 from Toyota Motor Sales USA, where she spent six years, ultimately assuming the role of VP-marketing for the Lexus Division.
As to how her marketing experience at Chrysler and other automakers ill inform her CMO role at Pulte Homes, Ms. Meyer wrote in the e-mail: "I believe some core marketing principles can add value to the customer process here, especially by using cutting-edge digital mediums to serve our customers on their terms. For example, I was on Twitter yesterday and we received kudos from a customer for being online and working with the customer at all times. Superior customer service has always been the Pulte way, so now we can execute that in the mediums our customers desire.
"We're working on many initiatives, but given this is my first week on the job I'm going to take a little more time to travel the regions before we roll things out," she said.
"With her experience marketing leading consumer brands including Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, Toyota and Lexus, Deborah understands how to connect a brand's promise with the individual needs of each customer segment," Steve Petruska, exec VP-chief operating officer of Pulte Homes, said in a statement.