Becomes Senior VP for Global Marketing Communications

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Julie Roehm, 35, the risk-taking, honored and sometimes controversial director of marketing communications at Chrysler Group since 2001, is leaving the automaker to join Wal-Mart, she told Advertising Age.
Marketing executive Julie Roehm is leaping from Chrysler to Wal-Mart.

Ms. Roehm, known for her candid comments during marketing and auto industry panels, will join the retail giant in the new position of senior VP-global marketing communications.

She said she will likely start at the Arkansas company Feb. 8.

"I have been fortunate to have worked with these great people on these three great brands," she said, referring to Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler.

She was part of the team that drove the automaker into cool, online lifestyle campaigns and video gaming that led to Advertising Age naming Chrysler Group as its first Interactive Marketer of the Year in 2005.

Stirred controversy
Ms. Roehm and Jeff Bell, VP-Jeep and Chrysler brands, stirred controversy in 2004 and again in 2005 by advancing the idea of replacing TV's upfront with a stock market-like trading system. She and Mr. Bell also were criticized for edgy ad executions early in their Chrysler tenures and some work had to be pulled or reworked.

With a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and an MBA from the University of Chicago, her first job at Chrysler in 2001 was overseeing advertising at Dodge as marketing communications director. She was at the center a storm in 2004 for signing up Dodge as a co-sponsor of the Lingerie Bowl as part of a pay-per-view during the Super Bowl's halftime show. Under consumer and dealer pressure, Dodge withdrew and she said at the time that it was an inexpensive buy.

She rose to her current post in 2003 and was said to have been disappointed she was not made a VP, as her predecessor in the post, Mr. Bell, had been. The two met at Ford as participants in the automaker's marketing leadership program.

She joined Chrysler from Ford Motor Co., where as brand manager she orchestrated the successful U.S. launch of the Focus small car in 1999.

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