Deborah Wahl Meyer Out at Chrysler

Automaker Eliminates CMO Position

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Within an hour of the White House announcement that it would push through a rescue loan for the auto industry, Chrysler announced an executive realignment of its sales and marketing operations. The automaker's top marketer, Deborah Wahl Meyer, VP-chief marketing officer, will leave the company, effective immediately, and her position is being eliminated, the company said.

Deborah Wahl Meyer
Deborah Wahl Meyer Credit: Carlos Osorio
A spokeswoman said the move continues Chrysler's effort to restructure.

Ms. Meyer arrived with much fanfare in summer 2007 from Toyota Motor Sales USA, where she spent six years and rose to VP-marketing of the Lexus Division. She could not be reached for comment.

Her swan song, as it turned out, was the integrated launch of the Dodge Ram pickup.

Watched ad budget shrink
The Michigan native, who also worked for Ford Motor Co., watched Chrysler's ad budget shrink to $579 million in U.S. measured media the first nine months of 2008 from $866 million in the same period a year ago. There had been talk for months in the industry grapevine that Ms. Meyer was looking to leave the automaker.

Chrysler also consolidated marketing, brand marketing, media, events, advertising, interactive and customer relationship management in North America under Steve Landry, the exec VP, who will keep his responsibility over sales, dealer operations and distribution. Exec VP Michael Manley adds corporate research and global product planning to his plate and will still oversee international sales.

The automaker said Philip Murtaugh, CEO of Chrysler's Asia operations, has announced his plan to leave Chrysler at the end of the month to pursue other interests.

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