Volkswagen global CMO to depart

Volkswagen Passenger Cars global chief marketing officer Nelly Kennedy is departing, Campaign US has learned. 

A spokesperson for the automaker confirmed that Kennedy is departing “at her request” to return to the U.S. and said “her successor will be announced later.”

Kennedy took on the role of CMO for Volkswagen in February 2023, succeeding Jochen Sengpiehl, who moved to lead marketing for Volkswagen Group China.  

Kennedy is American and was based in Germany for the position. 

She was previously senior global brand marketing director at Google in San Francisco, California and held multiple global marketing positions at Adidas for six years, including in Amsterdam and Germany.

Volkswagen is in the midst of a global media review that kicked off in June, reviving a process that originally began in 2021 but was put on a nine-month hold. Omnicom’s PHD is the incumbent, holding the account since 2016, and is expected to be defending against other holding company media groups vying for the account. 

The spokesperson did not comment on how Kennedy’s departure might affect the ongoing review.

The German automaker is set to air an ad during CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 that kicks off a yearlong campaign celebrating Volkswagen’s 75 years in the U.S., created by Johannes Leonardo.

When Kennedy first took the role, Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, said: “We are turning Volkswagen back into a love brand — approachable, customer-centric and authentic. Our marketing plays a key role in this context. As the new CMO, Kennedy together with her team will help turn Volkswagen back into a true people’s brand.”


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