Chrysler CMO Steps Down

As Chrysler heads into a month-long plant shutdown, the automaker has announced a realignment of its sales and marketing operations.

After 18 months on the job, Chrysler CMO Deborah Meyer is stepping down from her post, effective immediately, in order to pursue “other opportunities,” per the company. The short-lived chief marketing position is being eliminated altogether.

Meyer joined Chrysler in August 2007 from Toyota Motor Sales USA, where she served as vp, marketing of the company’s Lexus unit. She was Toyota’s first CMO.

Also leaving Chrysler is Philip Murtaugh, who has served as CEO of the car maker’s Asia operations since September 2007.

The moves come on the heels of the departure of senior vp of parts and services John Campi, who is said to have decided to leave Chrysler because of an unspecified health-related issue. Campi, who is close friends with Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli, stepped down on Friday, Dec. 12.

Simon Boag, who spearheaded Chrysler’s Mopar parts and accessories business, left earlier this week. Like Meyer, Boag is also pursuing “other opportunities,” Chrysler said.

As Chrysler wraps its last day of production until at least January 19, the White House announced that it will issue some $17.4 billion in emergency loans to prevent the collapse of the insolvent Chrysler and General Motors. While $13.4 billion will be made available immediately, the remaining $4 billion in loans won’t be paid out until February.

The loans should keep both companies out of receivership until March 31, whereupon the Obama administration will decide whether to continue to support the domestic-auto bailout or allow the companies to fall into bankruptcy. The money will be funneled from the U.S. Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.