LOS ANGELES — Kia Motors America’s decision to hire Russell Wager, Mazda’s former North American marketing vice president, as director of marketing operations positions the Korean brand to accelerate its image transformation from a value-oriented choice for consumers to a more mature automaker with an expanded lineup to match that message.
Wager, who joins Kia after the recent departure of marketing vice president Saad Chehab, will be in charge of advertising, media, partnerships and other marketing activities. He reports to Kia Motors America COO Michael Cole.
In his new role, Wager will find some similarities to his last job, where he began shifting Mazda’s brand positioning from a fun-to-drive ethos to more premium products with a higher price tag.
“I am thrilled to join the Kia team and bring my 25-plus years of passion and knowledge of the automotive business to this new position,” said Wager in a statement last week. “I look forward to working with the creative and…
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