ROTONDO GRABS RINGS WITH NEW OLYMPICS POST AT GM: GOAL TO LEVERAGE SPONSORSHIP OF $900 MIL ACROSS ALL CAR BRANDS THROUGH 2008

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Dean rotondo's new job should keep him busy until at least 2008.

Mr. Rotondo, 37, is the first director of Olympics activities and media relations at General Motors Corp.'s North American Operations. That's a big promotion from a position he had held since 1995 -- communications manager for marketing and advertising.

In his new job, he will be overseeing marketing and promotional activities tied to GM's estimated $900 million sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee and NBC through the 2008 Games. He's also handling media relations strategy.

GM is the official domestic car and truck of the U.S. Olympic Team through the 2008 Games. The estimated $600 million NBC side of the deal gives GM domestic automotive exclusivity and media placement for the network's Olympics coverage in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.

The GM communications veteran already is plotting tactics to best leverage GM's brands through the network deal and the estimated $300 million Olympics sponsorship. He's working with GM EventWorks, GM's dedicated events agency, to formulate a game plan for the 2000 Olympics.

"We want to make sure we go after this the right way organizationally," he said.

Mr. Rotondo said GM may have diluted itself having too many brands involved in its 1996 sponsorship of the Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta.

DOING THINGS BETTER

"We think we did some things well," added the executive, who was involved in GM's Atlanta sponsorship on the PR and media relations side. "We think we can learn to do other things better."

GM is conducting extensive research on sports and their fan demographics to match GM brands to Olympic team sports, said Mr. Rotondo. In the next few weeks, he'll start sessions with GM's vehicle marketing divisions to determine links with the national governing bodies of the Olympic teams.

U.S. OLYMPIC TEAMS TIES

Those ties can help GM take its Olympic team sponsorships -- all teams except tennis and equestrian -- to the regional level for local dealership promotions.

The national governing bodies have "a wonderful grass-roots following," he said. "We want to work the [national governing bodies] to grow their stature and awareness and establish more equity with them."

Mr. Rotondo has dual reporting responsibilities -- to Phil Guarascio, VP-general manager for marketing and advertising, GM's North American Operations, and to Bill O'Neill, executive director, North American Operations `communications.

LEVERAGING OLYMPIC RINGS

"One of Dean's challenges is to work with GM's car and truck divisions to establish a marketing cadence for GM brands so we can gain maximum benefit from our affiliation with the Olympics rings," Mr. Guarascio said.

Mr. Rotondo worked in sports information at his alma mater, Western Michigan University, before joining the carmaker in 1985 as a communications staffer at GM's Truck & Bus Group.

He said his new job will let him utilize his public relations experience while broadening his marketing involvement.

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