Mr. John joined the agency, now in Warren, Mich., and owned by Interpublic Group of Cos., in 1956 after a stint at JWT. Before rising to chairman-CEO of the agency in 1985, the West Virginia native held the positions of media director, Chevrolet account chief, vice chairman, president and chief operating officer.
The 1947 graduate of the University of Michigan created Chevrolet's direct-mail department in the 1950s with a Chevy magazine and a letter from General Motors' president to teens who had just received their driver's licenses. In the '60s, he developed one of the first radio target-market programs with daily syndicated radio news programs in the top 100 markets. He also created Major League Baseball and National Football League radio franchises in 35 markets.
Starting in 1967, he leveraged Chevrolet's growing sponsorship of college football to create competition among the top 100 colleges and universities. He created the "Chevrolet Player of the Game," a recognition that continues today and has contributed nearly $9 million dollars to scholarship funds. In 1967, the NCAA appointed Mr. John to generate and manage all of the events for its yearlong 100th anniversary of college football.
He is a past president of the Adcraft Club of Detroit and Detroit Economic Club director and is survived by Nancy, his wife of 50 years, a daughter, son and four grandchildren.