GM marketing executive fired because of Manchester United deal? image

According to some several sources, the departure of General Motors Co’s global marketing chief is related to a hugely expensive sponsorship deal with England’s Manchester United soccer club.

Even if the value was “undisclosed” by GM, Reuters says the seven-year agreement between GM and Manchester United is worth nearly $600 million, or $60 million to $70 million a year – twice as much as the team’s previous automotive sponsor.

By comparison, insurance broker Aon Plc (the current sponsor of M United) pays about $31 million a year for the current jersey sponsorship, which runs through the 2013-2014 season.

Now GM says Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick resigned (or maybe was forced to resign) because he didn’t “meet the company’s expectations of an employee”.

The former GM executive told reporters when the first United deal was announced that the Super Bowl had become too expensive, saying “enough is enough, you have to pull back.”

The resignation is the latest in a series of abrupt management changes that have characterized GM marketing since the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy. In the year before Ewanick was hired, at least 17 marketing leaders changed jobs or left the company. He became GM’s fourth U.S. marketing chief in a year.

GM says Alan Batey, vice president of U.S. sales and service, will take over Ewanick’s role on an interim basis.