Hyundai and Audi both filled high-level communications posts this week. Audi promoted Emilie Cotter, while at Hyundai Sarah Fullwood arrived devoid of automotive experience.
Audi of America hired Cotter in September as director of corporate and brand communications. Chief brand officer at Marketplace, and SVP and partner at FleishmanHilliard, Cotter earlier headed corporate and brand communications for Lucasfilm.
Cotter will lead Audi of America’s communications strategy. Corporate, product, and lifestyle communications are her responsibility, along with government affairs. She wil define and lead communications with the media, dealers, internal and external partners, along with state and federal politicos.
Audi promoted chief communications officer Tara Rush to SVP and chief marketing officer in December. Rush oversaw communications until Cotter’s promotion. In her new post, Cotter will report to Audi of America presence Daniel Weissland.
Meanwhile, at Hyundai North America, Sarah Fullwood, a colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, has been named director of public relations and communications.
Fullwood oversees Hyundai Motor North America, Genesis Motor North America, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, and Hyundai’s Washington, D.C. communications. She reports to Dana White, Hyundai Motor North America chief communications officer.
“Sarah’s extensive experience driving change, building teams and managing large, diverse organizations will hasten the growth and performance of Hyundai, Genesis and the entire North American enterprise,” said White.
“Hyundai is evolving beyond a traditional OEM and therefore requires different disciplines and perspectives gained outside of the industry.”
A strategic communications officer for the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, public affairs officer for General James Mattis, and more recently Dana White’s senior military assistant, Fullwood was also an assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson for the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Fullwood led operations across a variety of time zones and geographic regions, as a U.S. European Command battle watch captain and as the Marine Corps Wargaming Division deputy director.
The automotive industry’s complexities are difficult for those with a clear professional trajectory, let alone a newcomer with no experience in this field whatsoever.