LaNeve, 53, left GM in late 2009 in the wake of the automaker's bankruptcy, and went to Northbrook, Illinois insurance giant Allstate. LaNeve left the insurer in February, returning to the Detroit area where he maintains his home.
LaNeve, with a well-known outsized personality and the style of a football coach, was responsible at Cadillac for a marketing revolution that is remembered for, among other things, phasing out the old country club imagery of the brand and ushering in rock music, such as that of Led Zeppelin in a campaign themed, "Break Through." (Scroll down to watch the ad).
At Team Detroit, LaNeve will be the number-two executive behind Satish Korde. As COO, he will have a lot to do with talent recruitment, but also weigh in on key Ford strategy issues. As former chief of Cadillac (he also had a stint running marketing for Volvo in North America), he will undoubtedly be called on for his thoughts on turning around Ford's Lincoln division.
While at Allstate, Laneve directed the "Mayhem" campaign, which has resulted in the big insurer effectively fighting back against Progressive Insurance's "Flo."
LaNeve resurfacing in Detroit the same week that GM ousted his successor, Joel Ewanick, which goes to show how temporary chief marketing officer jobs can be – especially in the auto industry.