Remember all that buzz at the Detroit auto show in January about Hyundai Motor America's talented triumvirate -- CEO John Krafcik, sales boss Dave Zuchowski and marketing whiz Joel Ewanick?
They were the talk of the show. Rumors flew that Krafcik, Zuchowski and Ewanick were about to be snatched by other automakers one by one. Last week, one did get picked off -- Ewanick, who was named head of marketing at Nissan North America.
Ewanick, 49, gets a lot of credit for Hyundai being one of just three brands with a U.S. sales increase last year. He developed last year's wow-factor Hyundai Assurance Program with ads that featured Jeff Bridges calmly guaranteeing customers that they could return their Hyundai purchases without denting their credit rating should they lose their jobs.
Ewanick also gave Hyundai pride of place in Super Bowl and Academy Awards broadcasts. In the Internet Age, he is a big believer in TV commercials. He told us recently: "The power of the 30-second commercial, if done right, can move mountains."
Ewanick made an impression from the time he arrived at Hyundai in 2007. His first move was to fire the automaker's ad agency, Richards Group -- his previous employer.
He will step into the post of Nissan Division vice president of marketing, responsible for marketing communications, pricing and product management. That job was vacated in February when Nissan Motor Co. promoted Christian Meunier to president of Nissan Brazil.