Former GM marketing head Joel Ewanick may have been shown the door for inking a costly deal with U.K. soccer team Manchester United, but a report from Bloomberg suggests there may be more to the story. The media outlet says a whistle-blower came forward and revealed to higher-ups that Ewanick was over-budget with the deal, and was also spreading the cost over other marketing budgets.
The report, based on Bloomberg interviews with unnamed insiders, also says clashes between Ewanick and GM CEO Dan Akerson began weeks before when the marketing executive reportedly used profanity during a conference in Cannes, France. But it appears the Manchester United deal was what eventually cost Ewanick his job. As we previously reported, that deal placed the Chevrolet logo on team members’ jerseys in an effort to spread global awareness for the brand.
A regulatory filing by the team revealed the agreement was comprised of an $18.6 million payment this year, which would rise to roughly $70 million by the start of the season in 2014, according to Bloomberg. Following that, GM’s payments increase by 2.1 percent each season.
Ewanick, who helped create the Hyundai Assurance program a few years ago, told his bosses that the Manchester United deal’s high cost wasn’t out of the ordinary for such a large contract. GM’s investigators, however, disagreed after examining Ewanick’s accounts, finding he didn’t accurately disclose as much as a third of what the contract would cost.