Steve Shannon has left his job as marketing chief for Hyundai Motor America to “pursue other opportunities,” the company said in a statement. Hyundai Motor America chief executive Dave Zuchowski said in the statement that Shannon was able to achieve a number of key accomplishments while leading the company’s marketing efforts in the past three years.
The carmaker has already started searching for Shannon’s successor but has yet to appoint one, according to a company spokesman. Sources privy with the carmaker told Automotive News that Shannon’s marketing plan had been questioned in recent months as Hyundai experience cooling sales in the United States.
Shannon was tapped by Hyundai in April 2011 from General Motors after the US group recruited the South Korean carmaker’s two prior marketing heads, Joel Ewanick and Chris Perry, in 2010. Prior to joining Honda, Shannon was already a 25-year GM veteran, and most recently was executive director of marketing for Cadillac.
He also held positions at Saturn, Oldsmobile, Buick, Saab and Hummer. Former Hyundai CEO John Krafcik called Shannon as a perfect fit for the company, saying that he was a “marketing innovator with strong convictions about serving the customer."
While at Hyundai, Shannon built an on-the-ground marketing campaign around college football, with game-day activations for 25 of the most popular teams. He arrived at Hyundai at a time that the brand was recording strong growth in the US.
Hyundai, however, is now seeing slower growth, no thanks to plants already at full capacity. In fact, Hyundai just posted a 1-percent jump in sales in the US, while the industry leaped 6 percent.