automotive

Former Kia CMO Heading To Volkswagen

The game of musical chairs in automakers' marketing suites continues, with the latest move being Saad Chehab to lead brand marketing at Volkswagen of America.

Chehab, 52, was previously at Kia Motors, which he left at the end of June. He had held the position since April 2017 and said at the time he was stepping down to take a job closer to his children. He joined Kia from FCA Group where he ran global marketing for Maserati, after leading the Chrysler and Lancia brands.

Russell Wager, formerly the top marketer at Mazda, was appointed top U.S. marketer of Kia Motors America in July.

Derrick Hatami, executive vice present of sales and marketing and Jim Zabel, senior vice president of marketing, are leaving VW effective immediately. Hatami's responsibilities will be handled on an interim basis by Werner Eichhorn, chief sales and marketing officer for the VW brand in North America.

Chehab starts on Monday as senior vice president, VW brand marketing. He will be responsible for setting marketing strategy at VW, including building on the momentum generated by "Drive Bigger," VW's new brand campaign. He will report to the head of the VW Group in the U.S., Scott Keogh.

The automaker has been breaking brand advertising from agency Johannes Leonardo, which it hired in February as lead brand agency after a competitive pitch. Keogh, who approved the agency’s hiring, was previously CMO at Audi.

Before joining FCA, Chehab was director of creative services for Ford Motor Co. following six years designing automotive dealerships for an architectural firm. He has a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Detroit Mercy.

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