Ford lures GM boss…

General Motors loses European chief, who is leaving to implement Ford’s new branding strategy

General Motors’ top European brand marketer Jonathan Browning has quit to join its biggest US rival Ford as head of European marketing.

Browning is leaving his top job as executive director of European brand management to become Ford’s new European marketing director reporting to Massimo Ghenzer. Ghenzer, the chairman of Ford Italy, was given responsibility for brand management across Europe in January.

Browning’s role will be to restructure marketing departments across Europe in line with the company’s new brand management strategy. All national marketing departments will report to him.

He rose through GM via Vauxhall in the UK. He was manager of marketing services for Vauxhall in the late Eighties before becoming service and distribution director for cars and vans in 1990.

At GM Europe, Browning was responsible for overseeing the introduction of a brand management system across the continent.

The GM system, which made its debut in the US in 1995, came into force across Europe in March when five European brand managers for each “carline” were appointed (MW March 14). It puts one executive in charge of advertising, pricing and product design decisions. Previously these departments worked across carlines. A sixth brand manager for Corsa has yet to be appointed. These brand ‘czars’ reported to Browning.

Ford launched a new brand management structure across European markets last summer.

Though both Ford and GM are losing market share across Europe, Ford is in a much worse state. In the three months to the end of September, it lost 302m, while GM returned a profit of 50m in Europe.

Feature, page 44

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