Hyundai’s Marketing Chief Quits

Hyundai Motor America marketing chief Steve Shannon, the General Motors veteran who joined Hyundai in 2011 to help the Korean brand continue its ascendance in the U.S. market, has parted ways with the company. In a statement, Hyundai said Shannon left to “pursue other opportunities.”

“Steve has achieved a number of key accomplishments in his leadership of the company’s marketing efforts over the last three years,” Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski said in the statement.

A company spokesman said that Hyundai has begun a search for a replacement but has yet to select a successor. Messages sent to Shannon over social networking sites were not immediately returned.

Sources close to Hyundai told Automotive News that his marketing plan had been questioned in recent months amid cooling U.S. sales. The spokesman declined to comment on reasons for Shannon’s departure.

Shannon arrived at Hyundai in April 2011 after General Motors hired Hyundai’s two prior marketing chiefs, Joel Ewanick and Chris Perry, in 2010. Both have since left GM. Shannon, then 52, had spent more than 25 years at GM, where his most recent position had been executive director of marketing for Cadillac. His time in Detroit also included stints with Saturn, Oldsmobile, Buick, Saab and Hummer.

Upon hiring Shannon, Hyundai’s then-CEO John Krafcik called him “a perfect fit,” pointing to his work on the launch of the Saturn brand.

“He’s a marketing innovator with strong convictions about serving the customer,” Krafcik said then. “At the same time, he’s personable, enthusiastic and professional.”

Krafcik was replaced by Zuchowski on Jan. 1 of this year.

During his time at Hyundai, Shannon built an on-the-ground marketing campaign around college football, with gameday activations for 25 of the most popular teams. He also oversaw this year’s selection of actor Paul Rudd as the new voice of Hyundai, replacing the brand’s longtime pitchman, actor Jeff Bridges.

Photo Credit: Hyundai

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