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Ewanick's crafty budgeting, Farley Award, led to ousting

Posted Aug 8th 2012 5:15PM

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In the end it doesn't really matter, as Joel Ewanick is no longer working at General Motors. But curiosity over what led to his departure is still keen, and this latest story from Bloomberg offers further insight into the situation.

While we all know that Ewanick was something of a rogue within GM's still-conservative corporate culture, cutting deals that broke with tradition, mouthing off about Facebook, and deciding that Super Bowl ad rates are too high, that's ostensibly what he was hired to do. But it seems that perhaps his methods may have been a bit too much for GM CEO Dan Akerson and other execs.

Bloomberg says Akerson scolded Ewanick after he publicly cursed at a conference, giving him the "Farley Award," a Ford Blue Oval inscribed with the name of Ford marketing head Jim Farley. The dubious honor was a reference to Farley's infamous f-bomb directed at GM in Once Upon A Car, a book written by New York Times reporter Bill Vlasic. Akerson reportedly used to award to remind GM employees to always behave professionally, according to the report.

But it was Ewanick's record-breaking sponsorship deal with British soccer powerhouse Manchester United that was his ultimate undoing, according to the report. Apparently the US$559 million deal was a series of separate sponsorships divvied up among different budgets "to avoid his boss' spending limits," according to Bloomberg, a charge that Ewanick denied.

You can read the full article here.

News Source: Bloomberg via San Francisco Chronicle

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