Here Are The Juiciest Bits From Bloomberg’s Probe Of The $559 Million GM-Manchester United Fiasco

Joel Ewanick
Former GM marketer Joel Ewanick

[credit provider=”GM”]

Before forcing him out of the company, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson humiliated his top marketer, Joel Ewanick, by requiring him to carry around the company’s “Farley Award”—a company in-joke about car execs who use bad language—at the Cannes advertising festival, as a punishment for cursing in front of the media.And that’s not even the juiciest bit of Bloomberg’s delicious gossip-dump about the unravelling of Ewanick, who cut the massive new sponsorship of Manchester United that will put the Chevrolet logo on the team’ shirtfront. Business Insider first suggested the deal was questionable on June 1.

Here are some of the other tasty morsels, all per Bloomberg:

  • Ewanick allegedly tried to conceal the size of the Manchester United deal—which Bloomberg puts at $559 million—by spreading it across several different marketing budgets.
  • This dodge was spotted by an internal whistleblower, who snitched on Ewanick.
  • Ewanick was then subjected to a three-day long interrogation by GM’s corporate counsel, Michael Millikin, in which “more elements he hadn’t disclosed were uncovered over the course of the investigation,” Bloomberg says.
  • When Ewanick first took the job, he upset GM longtimers by bypassing GM’s usual process for buying office furniture. Instead, he furnished his den entirely from Ikea, spending $2,000 when he was allowed $50,000.
  • At the Cannes Lions festival this summer, Ewanick was on a panel with his ad agency chief, Jeff Goodby, who joked that he would be asking Ewanick about Facebook. (Ewanick famously rained on Facebook’s IPO parade by pulling his $10 million ad budget days before the company went public). “Motherf—er,” Ewanick responded, joking. “You’re gonna pay for this s—.” Akerson then made Ewanick carry around the Farley Award, a mock-up of Ford’s blue oval logo that has “Farley” instead of “Ford” in the centre. Ford marketing boss Jim Farley was once quoted saying “f— GM” in “Once Upon a Car,” a 2011 book by New York Times reporter Bill Vlasic.


  • REPORT: GM Signed Manchester United Sponsorship Without Knowing Price