General Motors Co. said Pernilla Ammann, the wife of Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann, is an officer and a partner in an advertising agency that received about $600,000 for services last year to a GM subsidiary.
The transaction was “properly ratified” under the Detroit-based company’s policy covering related-party transactions, GM said today in a regulatory filing. Not all required procedures were followed, according to the company, headed by Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson.
“‘Properly ratified’ means our CEO and general counsel approved the transaction as being appropriate and in the company’s interest,” Dave Roman, a spokesman for GM, the world’s largest automaker, said in an e-mail. “In this instance, it was ratified after the fact.”
Pernilla Ammann is a partner at Mother New York, which worked on a project related to the centennial of the Chevrolet brand, Roman said. GM said it “recently learned about” the transaction, which wasn’t disclosed in the original proxy for GM’s annual meeting on June 12, according to today’s filing.
“They are not doing any work for us at this time,” Roman said.
The automaker spent about $1.8 billion on advertising in the U.S. in 2011, trailing only AT&T Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., Jon Swallen, head of research at Kantar Media, has said.
GM’s marketing department is changing as Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick looks for efficiencies and strives to make Chevrolet and Cadillac global brands. GM picked Aegis Group Plc’s Carat as the automaker’s agency for media planning and buying, and consolidated Chevrolet’s ad business under one newly formed company, Commonwealth. Chevrolet previously used 70 ad agencies around the world, the company has said.
GM rose 1.8 percent to $22.44 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 11 percent so far this year.