HERNDON, VA: Volkswagen Group of America hired Tony Cervone as CCO and EVP of communications, a newly created role at the company. Effective today, he will be responsible for all aspects of corporate communications, including media relations, PR campaigns, community partnerships, and philanthropy.
He was most recently SVP and CCO for United Airlines. He left the company less than two years after joining in 2009, following its merger with Continental, which put Continental's Nene Foxhall in place as CCO. Prior to joining United, he was VP of global communications and strategy at General Motors, where he worked with Jonathan Browning who joined Volkswagen as president and CEO this past summer. Browning was VP of European sales, service, and marketing at GM in 2008. Cervone worked with Browning in Europe, where he served as a communications lead.
"Once you're in the autos you kind of feel it and it keeps coming back," said Cervone. "I worked with [Browning] for many years at GM, and we think along the same lines and get along extremely well. The chemistry piece, which is important at the senior levels, is already there."
He added, "It's a very strong product."
At Volkswagen, he will report to Browning and be a member of the Executive Management Team. He's in the process of moving to Herndon, and he's currently working on communications surrounding the launch of the Passat and next month's New York Auto Show.
According to The Car Connection, prior to hiring Cervone Volkswagen's VP of corporate and brand communications Jill Bratina had handled many of the communications responsibilities under former CEO Stefan Jacoby, who left to join Volvo.
Cervone said there's no connection between the agency selections.