Murphy to Leave Chrysler Group

by : Mike Bartley

The Chrysler Group announced Tuesday that George Murphy, the senior vice president of global brand marketing, will leave the company at the end of this month to pursue other opportunities. Murphy is latest to jump ship since DaimlerChrysler's announcement of the Cerberus deal.

The marketing executive is the latest executive to leave Chrysler since DCX announced May 14 it was selling an 80.1 percent stake in the company to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. DCX will retain a 19.9 percent stake of the Auburn Hills automaker. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Last week, Simon Boag was named the executive vice president of procurement and supply, replacing Peter Rosenfeld. The move formed part of Chrysler Chief Executive Tom LaSorda's effort to unite a team that is better suited for Chrysler's new ownership. "Anytime there's a change of ownership you'll have a number of executives who see the handwriting on the wall and decide to jump," said Dennis Virag, the president of Automotive Consulting Group in Ann Arbor. Jason Vines, a Chrysler spokesman, refused to comment on the assumption of other executives leaving the automaker.

Murphy, 51, was appointed as the senior vice president for Global Brand Marketing for the Chrysler Group in February 2001. He was responsible for the global marketing efforts for the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge product lines. He joined DCX after two years with the Ford Motor Company, where he was the General Marketing Manager for the Ford Division. He was responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies and programs for all Ford brand cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans sold in the United States.

Before joining Ford, Murphy was with General Electric for eleven years, rising to the level of Corporate Vice President before choosing to change industry sectors. Prior to joining GE, he worked at the Coca-Cola Company in account management and as a key aide to the Senior Vice President for USA operations. He was also a consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton.

The marketing executive was part of a group recruited by Dieter Zetsche - Chrysler's former CEO and current DaimlerChrysler chairman. The others included James Schroer, Jeffrey Bell and Julie Roehm, all of whom have left Chrysler.

A replacement for Murphy has not yet been found, company spokesman David Elshoff said. He added the automaker's marketing efforts would not be affected by Murphy's departure given the recent promotions of Steven Landry, who became the executive vice president for North American sales and global marketing, and of Michael Manley, who is now the executive vice president for international sales and marketing. "We're confident we have the skills and talent needed going forward," Elshoff said.

Chrysler is in the middle of swift revamping efforts likened to that of . Joseph Dehner will replace David McKinnon, who plans to retire as vice president for small, premium and family vehicle design. Dehner was the director of truck exterior and interior design. The new vice president of advance exterior and interior design will be Brandon Faurote. He will replace Thomas Tremont, who also plans to retire.