UPDATE 2-GM hires former Hyundai marketing chief

* GM hires former Hyundai marketing star Ewanick

* Shake-up marks 4th post-bankruptcy sales team overhaul
(Adds details on previous GM management revamps, adds comments
by GM chairman, other background)

By Kevin Krolicki

DETROIT, May 5 (BestGrowthStock) – General Motors Co [GM.UL] said
on Wednesday it has hired Hyundai Motor Co’s (005380.KS: ) highly
regarded former marketing chief in the fourth shake-up of GM’s
sales organization since the automaker exited bankruptcy.

GM said Joel Ewanick would take over responsibility for
marketing the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands later
this month.

Ewanick, 49, was credited with helping to power sales and
market share gains for Hyundai in 2009 during a crushing slump
in industry-wide sales.

Ewanick pushed Hyundai into advertising in high-profile
events like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards just as other
automakers, including GM, were pulling back.

He also launched the “Hyundai Assurance Program,” a sales
offer that took aim at consumer concerns about job security by
allowing Hyundai buyers who lost their jobs to return their new
cars.

Hyundai U.S. sales were up more than 8 percent in 2009
while industry-wide sales dropped 21 percent. During Ewanick’s
two-year tenure at Hyundai, the percentage of American
consumers who reported that they would consider buying a
Hyundai doubled.

Ewanick had joined Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: ) in March with
responsibility for marketing all Nissan-brand vehicles in the
U.S. market.

Ewanick replaces Susan Docherty, 47, who will be given a
new position at GM, the company said.

Neither could be immediately reached for a comment.

GM has changed the executives in charge of its sales and
marketing efforts four times since emerging from bankruptcy in
July under pressure to reverse years of declining market
share.

In the latest revamp in early March, GM announced North
America President Mark Reuss, 46, would take responsibility for
sales, stripping that responsibility from Docherty.

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre has been
pushing the automaker to move faster to win back U.S. consumers
after a decades-long slide in market share.

In late March, Whitacre had told GM employees that the
executive team he had assembled would remain in place to carry
out the turnaround strategy expected to culminate with a stock
offering, possibly late this year.

“I want to reassure you that the major leadership changes
are behind us,” Whitacre said. “The team we have in place today
is the team that will take us forward.”

A person familiar with Ewanick’s hiring at GM said Reuss
had become aware in the past several weeks that the former
Hyundai marketing chief might be available, just after
Ewanick’s hiring by Nissan was announced.

Reuss made the decision to pursue and hire Ewanick and then
make room for him in the organization by shifting Docherty to a
new role, said the person, who asked not to be quoted about
aspects of the decision-making process that have not been made
public.

One of GM’s key challenges is to address what executives
have described as a “perception gap” between recent
improvements in quality in GM’s product line-up and the
still-lagging impression many American consumers have of its
brands.

Ewanick’s departure creates an opening at Nissan, just as
the Japanese automaker is looking to build sales momentum for
its existing line-up and the launch of its upcoming electric
Leaf.

Nissan could not be immediately reached for a comment.

GM was restructured in bankruptcy under the guidance of the
U.S. Treasury last year.

The automaker has repaid $7 billion in loans to the U.S.
government. It is planning an initial public offering to begin
to pay back taxpayers for an additional $43 billion the U.S.
government extended in exchange for a 61.5 percent ownership
stake in the automaker.

Stock Market

(Reporting by Kevin Krolicki and Soyoung Kim; Editing by Derek
Caney and Matthew Lewis)

UPDATE 2-GM hires former Hyundai marketing chief