So Who Is Chrysler Group's New Global Marketing Boss?

26-Year Vet Michael Accavitti Was Previously Dodge Marketer After Diverse Stints at Automaker

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DETROIT ( -- Meet the brand czar of the latest Chrysler incarnation: Michael Accavitti.

Michael Accavitti
Michael Accavitti
The Chrysler veteran is assuming the post of president-CEO of the Dodge brand (with profit-and-loss responsibilities for the brand's product portfolio) but will also oversee Chrysler's worldwide marketing organization. As such, he will coordinate global marketing strategies, brand development and advertising for the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands at the automaker, which is getting ready to start operations post-bankruptcy following an alliance with Italy's Fiat.

Other brand chiefs
The Chrysler brand will be headed by Peter Fong as president-CEO, who had been director of the automaker's mid-Atlantic business center. Michael Manley will oversee Jeep as its president-CEO and will oversee product planning for all three vehicle brands. Mr. Manley served most recently as exec VP-international sales and global product planning operations.

The trio will report to Chrysler Vice Chairman-President Jim Press, tapped as CEO and special adviser by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, now also the CEO of the new Chrysler Group.

The three president-CEOs each are responsible for their own balance sheet and will therefore have a voice in marketing and agency matters. Chrysler's agency, BBDO, Detroit, holds all three accounts. BBDO has stood by its client through the government's pre-packaged bankruptcy even though it was listed as the second-largest unsecured credit in Chrysler's filing, owed $58.1 million.

Chrysler's new partner, Fiat, works with Italy's independent Armando Testa; Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett and its Arc Worldwide arm; and WPP's United.

Diverse career path
So just who is this new brand czar? Mr. Accavitti had previously been director of Dodge brand marketing, a post he held for two years. The Detroit native has had a diverse career path since joining the automaker as an industrial engineer a year after graduating from Western Michigan University in 1983 with a B.S. in industrial engineering and management. Mr. Accavitti spent the rest of the decade in manufacturing, including an engineer at Chrysler's joint venture with Maserati in Milan, Italy, in 1987.

He received his master's degree in business management from Wayne State University in 1992 and graduated from Michigan State University's law school in Detroit in 1996. Mr. Accavitti gained extensive overseas experience at Chrysler as manager for Indonesia sales in 1994 and a senior manager of business development in Asia-Pacific from 1995 to 1999.

His first marketing job was in 2002 as director of Jeep marketing, product planning and global sales. He moved to Canada in 2005 as VP-marketing. He returned to Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., the next year as director-motor sports and SRT (or performance) product planning and marketing.

The marketing chief at the "old" Chrysler, Steven Landry, said he will retire as exec VP-sales and marketing in North America and global service and parts, and has offered to assist the new company in the transition. The Canadian-born executive was handed added duties of brand marketing, media, events, advertising, interactive and customer relationship management last December after the unexpected departure of VP-CMO Deborah Meyer.

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