Mitsubishi Loses Top 2 Marketing Execs

LOS ANGELES Dave Schembri and Wayne Killen both resigned their positions this week at Mitsubishi Motors North America, the automaker confirmed, declining to offer further details.

Schembri, executive vice president of sales and marketing, came to Mitsubishi a year ago from BMW’s Mini division, where he was vice president of Smart USA when the automaker was considering introducing the European car to the U.S., a plan it has since abandoned.

Killen’s second tenure at embattled Mitsubishi was even more short-lived. He joined the company last summer [Adweek Online, Aug. 30, 2005] as vice president of marketing from Mercedes-Benz in Montvale, N.J., where he was product manager of the Maybach line. Killen was at Mitsubishi during the late 1980s, then later worked with Schembri at Mercedes.

Neither of the executives was available for comment.

A representative of Cypress, Calif.-based MMNA said no replacement for either executive had been made, and that president and CEO Hiroshi Harunari would oversee sales and marketing in the interim.

Despite changing advertising agencies last year from Interpublic’s Deutsch/LA to Omnicom’s BBDO, Mitsubishi’s sales decline continues. The brand was down 27 percent in 2005 from the previous year, selling only 124, 000 units, according to Car Concepts, Thousand Oaks, Calif.