GM account gets new lead executive at media buyer Carat

Alex Crowther is the third lead executive on the GM account in two years.
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NEW YORK -- General Motors' media-buying ad agency Carat has hired longtime automotive advertising executive Alex Crowther to succeed Steven Feuling as the lead on the account.

The move comes as Carat promotes Feuling to the newly created role of chief client officer for Carat USA and global client president overseeing relationships with global clients based in North America with the exception of GM. Feuling took over the GM account when Carat President Martin Cass decided to leave the shop to pursue his MBA full-time.

Crowther is the third lead on the GM account in two years. Carat said Feuling’s move was in the cards. He had moved to Detroit from San Francisco to run the account, leaving his family behind on the West Coast. He’ll return to San Francisco in his new role.

Carat primarily handles media buying work for GM. Several other agencies handle creative work for various GM brands and products.

GM vetted the decision, the agency said. It’s a big job, and on paper Crowther is well suited to the task. He’ll move from Singapore to Detroit, where he already has a home due to a past steeped in automotive experience. He’ll report to Nigel Morris, CEO of Americas and EMEA for Carat parent Aegis Media.

Crowther spent a few years at Carat early in his career and has since worked on a number of global automotive accounts. He was most recently CEO of Asia Pacific for WPP’s MediaCom. He previously served as co-founder and CEO-Americas and Asia Pacific at Omnicom-backed agency Davinci, which at the time managed global media for Chrysler and Mercedes Benz as well as Mitsubishi Motors in North America.

Crowther is joining an account that’s seen its fair share of change. After winning the business in January 2012, Carat built a new office in Detroit to house the account’s hundreds of employees. But then-GM CMO Joel Ewanick soon eliminated a big platform from the shop’s options when he said Facebook ads don’t work -- just as the social network prepared to take its stock public on Wall Street.

Ewanick left GM a year later and earlier this year GM said it would return to Facebook advertising.

In 2012, GM spent $3.07 billion on total U.S. advertising, half of which went to measured media, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. Its worldwide measured media spending was $3.21 billion.

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