Ritter Thumbs Nose at GM, Goes Indy to Run Toyota’s US Biz

26 June 2003

Kurt Ritter, former General Motors marketing veteran and, until this week, chief executive officer of Saatchi & Saatchi's office in Torrance, California, is to set-up an independent marketing consultancy to work on strategic positioning for Toyota Motor Sales USA corporate and its operating divisions.

GM was a decidedly unhappy bunny when Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi hired Ritter to run its Torrance unit – star client, Toyota. Its displeasure was communicated to Publicis in no uncertain terms, spiced by the fact that other units of the Paris-headquartered global holding company handle large slabs of GM business.

Publicis bit the bullet and Ritter quit after less than a month in the job. He is replaced at Torrance by Rich Anderman, managing director and COO, now promoted to president.

Ritter, however, resurfaced immediately as head honcho of Against All Odds, a new marketing consultancy also Torrance-based and named after a book written by deceased Toyota boss Yukiyasu Togo. No sycophant, Kurt.

Says Toyota spokesman Mike Michels: “We’re happy with the arrangement and looking forward to getting back to work.” Says Ritter: “I want to look forward, not backward. There's been way too much written on Kurt Ritter.”

Data sourced from: AdWeek.com; additional content by WARC staff