Ex-Renault marketing boss Norman joins PSA

Norman starts as PSA senior vice president of group marketing coordination on May 12.
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RENNES, France -- PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's new CEO Carlos Tavares has created a marketing supremo position to help implement his Back in the Race turnaround plan for the struggling French automaker.

Tavares' choice for the job is former Renault colleague Stephen Norman, who retired from PSA's rival last September, not long after Tavares stepped down as chief operating officer. Norman, 59, starts as PSA's senior vice president of group marketing coordination on May 12.

Norman will report to the CEOs responsible for the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands, supporting them as they seek to move "upmarket," PSA said in a statement. He also has "cross-functional responsibility for the quality of the brands’ marketing activities worldwide," the automaker said.

Industry watchers expect Norman to ensure that PSA allocates its resources more efficiently to achieve a clearer differentiation and perceptions of each brand. "PSA previously had different people doing the marketing for each brand and coordination suffered," said Rabih Freiha, an analyst for Exane BNP Paribas. "Now, a single person will run the team and coordinate the strategies across the three brands. This new position was clearly created for Norman. It is good news for PSA."

In April Tavares, who is PSA’s third CEO in five years, unveiled his recovery plan for Europe’s second-largest automaker. He intends to cease production of unprofitable models, focusing instead on vehicles that generate high volumes and strong margins. This is an approach that worked for him at Renault, where he was COO from 2011 until last summer.

Norman is an auto industry veteran who has worked in the UK, France and Italy. He started his career in 1976 with the Rover Group, where he rose to become marketing director. He has also worked for Volkswagen, serving as its managing director and chairman in France between 2000 and 2004, and for Fiat as the brand's global marketing director.

In 2007 he joined Renault as head of marketing and communications. He was responsible for the marketing launches of the new Clio subcompact, the Captur small SUV and the Zoe battery-powered hatchback.

You can reach Bruce Gain at bgain@crain.com.

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