Nissan Shifts Witherspoon To Global Marketing, Hires Kia Exec

Kia America’s Marisstella Marinkovic is joining Nissan as the brand's vice president and U.S. chief marketing officer.

She replaces Allyson Witherspoon, who is being promoted to lead global marketing efforts for the brand as corporate vice president, global marketing, brand and merchandising, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., based in Japan.  

Witherspoon was MediaPost’s Automotive Marketer of the Year for 2021. 

Marinkovic is currently director, marketing operations and strategy, at Kia America, a position she has held for nearly three and a half years. She was previously at Innocean for almost five years, and before that at Saatchi & Saatchi in Los Angeles for 16 years. 



She brings more than two decades of experience in corporate and agency marketing, working on some of the world's largest consumer and automotive brands. She led the development of campaigns that earned recognition at major industry events such as Cannes Lions, the Effies, One Show, Clios and the NY Film Festival. 

Marinkovic will be responsible for marketing communications and media; data innovation and customer experience; enhancing brand value; customer trust and insights; and brand and product marketing for the Nissan division in the U.S.

The changes fall under the Nissan NEXT transformation plan and the changes are aimed at building a stronger future in the Americas region, according to the automaker.

"With experience working with some of the largest brands in the world, Marisstella will continue to drive our efforts and deliver breakthrough campaigns for Nissan," said Michael Colleran, senior vice president, U.S. marketing and sales, Nissan North America, in a release.

Ponz Pandikuthira, currently vice president, global marketing, Nissan Motor Co., joins Nissan Americas as senior vice president and chief planning officer. He will oversee product planning, program management office, vehicle connected services and market intelligence functions in his new role.

"Ponz brings more than two decades of industry experience, linking future product and technology plans with customers around the world," said Jérémie Papin, chairperson, Nissan Americas, in a release. "He is the right person to lead our planning as our industry continues through this seismic shift to greater electrification and connectivity, while keeping a finger on the pulse of consumers throughout our region."

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