TORRANCE, CA: Toyota has named former PepsiCo communications chief Julie Hamp its CCO for North America, effective June 25.
Based in Torrance, CA, Hamp will report to Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales and SVP of Toyota Motor North America. She will replace Jim Wiseman, who is retiring after 23 years at the automaker.
Hamp will oversee the company's cross-affiliate communications team, including members from Toyota Motor North America, Toyota Motor Sales, and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing of North America.
Hamp resigned as PepsiCo's CCO and SVP of consumer relations on March 2 after working at the company since December 2007. She helped to restructure PepsiCo's communications department to be more streamlined, globally focused, and consistent. Hamp was ranked No. 19 in the 2011 version of PRWeek's Power List.
She previously worked at General Motors for 25 years, holding various senior communications positions such as VP of communications for Europe and general director of communications for Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. Hamp worked on brands including Buick, Cadillac, and Saturn.
Hamp, who will have a team of three direct reports at Toyota, said she is “thrilled” to go back to the automotive industry. The company will debut 19 models this year, the most in its history, she added.
“I loved my time at Pepsi, which is a whole different industry and very exciting with big brands, but there's nothing quite like both the complexity and the simplicity of the auto business,” she explained. “So many people care and should care about how the industry performs because it affects so many jobs and lives in the US.”
Hamp said she plans to visit Toyota team members, associates, dealers, suppliers, and communications staffers to “see first-hand the Toyota way.” She will also work with the company's communications leaders to develop a strategy and structure to align the business across North America.
“It's always important to understand how things operate and build on the strengths that are there,” she said, “but also to realize that communications has a very special and distinct role to play at companies today, whether it's the role that we have for corporate reputation and society, the marketing and selling of products, employee engagement, or the new world of digital engagement with consumers.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of years Julie Hamp worked at General Motors. She worked at the company for 25 years.