Cadillac marketing director Vanzura leaving GM

Moving to Boston for family reasons, says she has no new career plans

Liz Vanzura
DETROIT -- Liz Vanzura, global marketing director of Cadillac, confirmed today through a spokesman she will leave General Motors at the end of the month to move to the Boston area with her family. The relocation was sparked by her husband, who has a new job as an executive at Panera Bread Co. in Needham, Mass.

Vanzura, 44, speaking through the spokesman, denied that she has been hired by Cadillac's national advertising agency, Modernista, which is based in Boston. "Nothing is in place at the moment in her career path," the spokesman said.

Within months of arriving at Cadillac in February 2006 from the same post at sibling Hummer, Vanzura yanked a big chunk of business from Cadillac's longtime ad agency, Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, and moved it without a review to Modernista, which has handled Hummer since 2000.

In the fall of 2006, Cadillac handed Modernista the rest of the account. The agency struggled with the business the first year with its "Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit" campaign that aimed to glorify the brand's crested logo. But the agency has found its footing with last year's launch ads for the redone CTS sedan that have attracted younger buyers and more non-GM owners to the brand.

The Cadillac spokesman said Vanzura "put us on a clear path," and although GM has not chosen her successor, "we'll replace her quickly" to retain continuity for the brand's messaging.

Vanzura has been one of the most visible women in automotive advertising.

She joined GM in 1982 after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute. After a series of jobs in product planning and research, Vanzura got her first marketing job in the mid-1990s as assistant brand manager of the Sunfire, Pontiac's entry-level model. "I quickly found out it was more fun in marketing," she told Advertising Age in an earlier interview.

She left GM in 1997 to join Volkswagen of America, where she and her team worked with Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, to create some of the most envied and honored ads in the auto industry. At VW, Vanzura worked on the launch of the new Beetle in 1998 as marketing director.

She rejoined GM in 2000 as ad director of Hummer.

You can reach Jean Halliday at jhalliday42@gmail.com

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