General Motors wanted Joel Ewanick so badly that it twice made a run at him -- and won out only after giving in to his biggest demand: autonomy.
Ewanick, 49, shocked the industry this month when he left Nissan -- where he was vice president of marketing for just five weeks after having left Hyundai Motor America in March -- to become GM's vice president of U.S. marketing.
It was GM's second, revised offer that lured Ewanick, a company executive told Automotive News sister publication Advertising Age. The insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Ewanick turned down GM's original offer, made more than two months ago, because he was wary that the bureaucratic corporate structure at GM would inhibit the kind of bold, daring moves he made at Hyundai.
"He didn't want to have to go through a half-dozen people to get something done," the GM executive said. "He wanted to be able to get on the phone and call one person and say, 'Can I do this -- yes or no?' and get a quick answer."
Ewanick will oversee the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands and consumer consideration of GM vehicles in the United States.