Nardelli Heists Toyota Marketer as New Chrysler CMO

17 August 2007

DETROIT: Following his January 2007 ousting by outraged shareholders at Home Depot, Robert Nardelli, now ceo of Chrysler, made a major hiring at the struggling automaker: that of chief marketing officer.

Deborah Wahl Meyer (pictured), currently vp of marketing at Lexus, will take up her new role on August 28, reporting to Chrysler evp of sales and marketing Steven Landry.

Enthused Nardelli: "Deborah is a great addition to the leadership team. She brings a proven track record of success to support our brands both in North America and internationally."

Meyer (44) successfully led efforts to drive the Lexus image upmarket with the launches of its redesigned LS flagship sedan and a hybrid LS, the Japanese firm's first model priced above $100,000.

But there was more than a hint of a subtext in a comment by Meyer's current boss, Toyota North America sales and marketing vp Jim Lentz.

Asked how he felt about Meyer's new appointment, Lentz reached for the vinegar: "One of Deborah's greatest strengths is her love for new challenges, and we understand the strong appeal of a top position at the new Chrysler."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff