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Ewanick Exits Hyundai for Nissan

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Hyundai's lead marketer, Joel Ewanick, is leaving the company to become vp, marketing for Nissan.

Ewanick, who was also Brandweek's Grand Marketer of the Year in 2009, succeeds Christian Meunier, whose appointment to president of Nissan Brazil was announced Feb. 5.

In his new role, Ewanick will be responsible for "all facets of marketing activities for Nissan brand products in the United States, including marketing communications ... pricing and product management," according to a Nissan statement.

Ewanick served as vp, marketing at Hyundai since 2007. Since that time, Ewanick introduced the Hyundai Assurance Program, which was credited with doubling the amount of consumers willing to buy a Hyundai.

A Hyundai rep said, "We're sorry to see him go. He did a tremendous job and we wish him luck."

Ewanick will be succeeded in the interim by Chris Perry, who is currently the director of marketing and advertising. A search for a new CMO is under way.

Nissan's lead creative agency in the U.S is Omnicom Group's TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn. The automaker's major media spending -- excluding online outlays -- totaled $310 million last year, according to Nielsen.

U.S creative duties on Hyundai are handled by World Marketing Group in Irvine, Calif. WMG is a joint venture of Hyundai and sister brand Kia. Hyundai's media spending totaled $225 million last year, per Nielsen.