SAN DIEGO -- When a Honda headhunter telephoned Mike Accavitti a few months ago it was a dream come true for the ex-Chrysler executive and muscle-car enthusiast.
Two years ago, Accavitti's long career at Chrysler came to an unceremonious end. In June 2009, then-new CEO Sergio Marchionne had elevated him to CEO of Dodge. But Accavitti lasted only four months in the job before resigning as part of a management shake-up.
During more than 20 years at Chrysler, Accavitti had worked his way up from a summer job on the factory floor to the executive suite. He held positions in manufacturing, product development and marketing. Before heading Dodge, he was Chrysler's director of brand marketing.
After Chrysler, Accavitti spent just over a year at Cisco Systems' automotive division. Then American Honda came calling, looking for a new chief marketing officer. He jumped at the chance, joining Honda in August.
"I liked Cisco, but it was completely different from the auto industry," Accavitti said. "I found [Cisco] very refreshing. They had great people who were bright. But I grew up with gasoline in my veins. No other industry has the grime of factory floor and the glory of the auto show floor."