Mark LaNeve, formerly the top marketing executive at General Motors is joining WPP ad shop Team Detroit as chief operating officer, the agency has confirmed.
Team Detroit is the holding company’s multi-agency entity that creates ads and plans and buys ad time for the Ford Motor Company on a global basis.
The hire was deemed important enough that Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP added a quote to the press release confirming the news late Tuesday. "Mark's joining the WPP team adds a whole new dimension to our global capability," the WPP CEO stated. "The great partnership which we enjoy with Ford will be strengthened even further."
LaNeve will lead the strategy and overall operations for the Ford and Lincoln businesses globally and report to Team Detroit CEO Satish Korde. "Much has been accomplished over the past year in restructuring and building our business; the time is right to bring in a new operational leader who will help take us to the next level," stated Korde.
LaNeve’s hire comes seven months after WPP created a spinoff dedicated agency to service the Lincoln brand, based in New York and headed by Cameron McNaughton. On his LinkedIn page, McNaughton still identifies himself as “President at Yet to be Named Lincoln Agency in NYC.”
Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, global marketing, sales and service was also quoted singing LaNeve’s praises. "Mark brings a deep knowledge of our business and a very strong legacy of success in marketing and advertising, making him a great addition to our team," Farley stated.
LaNeve, who spent most of his career at GM most recently served as executive vice president and CMO at Allstate Insurance where he led a realignment of the sales and marketing business and launched the award winning "Mayhem" campaign. He resigned in February.
Prior to joining Allstate in 2009, LaNeve served as Vice President Sales, Service and Marketing at General Motors, where he spent most of his career. He left for Allstate after GM filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.
He left GM for several years beginning in 1997 to serve as President and CEO at Volvo Cars of North America until 2001. He then returned to GM to be the General Manager for Cadillac, a post he held until 2005.
"Ford is an iconic brand with outstanding leadership, great products and an even better future," LaNeve stated. "With several options for returning to the industry I love, returning home to Detroit to be part of the Ford team through WPP was simply an opportunity I couldn't pass up."