LOS ANGELES - Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. moved quickly last week to keep one of the industry's top truck marketers in its fold.
The automaker signed on as the only client of Kurt Ritter's new consulting firm only days after the former General Motors exec was forced from his job at Toyota's ad agency.
In a move that stunned many of his compatriots, Ritter walked away from a rising-star career at GM in May to become the head of Toyota's advertising account at Saatchi & Saatchi. But when GM executives squawked about the hire to Publicis Groupe SA, the parent company for both Saatchi and several GM agencies, Ritter was forced out of the Saatchi post.
GM spends about $350 million a year with Publicis agencies.
Ritter's consulting deal with Toyota was disclosed last Tuesday, June 24. In a phone interview on Friday, June 27, Ritter said his role is to understand "the opportunities for Toyota and what it represents in the marketplace and making it more emotionally engaging in the future."