No. 5 Joel Ewanick and Chris Perry (VP Marketing, VP Marketing): Hyundai
Picture it: Hyundai 1998. Can’t? That’s how important these two were. Ewanick was named CMO of the Year by Forbes in 2009, Grand Marketer of the Year by Brandweek, and Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age. Ewanick, during his 3 years at Hyundai, is credited with catapulting Hyundai into the top rank among the big players in the U.S. auto market. Poached by Nissan in March 2010,7 and six weeks later stolen by General Motors to be their VP of US marketing, Ewanick was recently promoted to Global CMO of GM.8 Despite being promoted to Marketing VP, 10-year tenured Chris Perry followed swiftly on Ewanick’s heels to join General Motors. Perry and Ewanick were instrumental in recreating Hyundai’s brand image and launched the Hyundai Assurance Program in 2009, which doubled the percentage of U.S. consumers willing to consider buying a Hyundai.5 Hyundai achieved its highest market share ever in August, 2010. Now it may find itself running out of fuel as Nissan is charged up and their top marketing talent went to direct competitor GM.