Jerry Dow, managing director of worldwide marketing communications for United, started at the car rental company yesterday.
Tenure at United
Mr. Dow reported to United's chief marketing officer, Dennis Cary, although that position has been tenuous, at best, of late. Mr. Cary took over in February from Martin White, who resigned after just 16 months on the job. Mr. White had taken over in November of 2003 for Scott Praven, who retired after 24 years on the job.
In one of this last duties at United, Mr. Dow oversaw the latest ad campaign in which United calls out rival American Airlines for putting seats back in coach and reducing leg room.
A representative for the airline said United was exploring its options regarding Mr. Dow's former post.
Mr. Dow said he took the Vanguard job because "it was an opportunity for personal growth in a category that's very similar to the airline industry."
He added: "It's a category that is as yet undifferentiated and there is a lot of opportunity for marketing to lead that charge."
Alamo Rent a Car spent $15 million in measured media in 2004 and National spent $1 million, according to figures from TNS Media Intelligence.
Rich Thomaselli contributed to this report.