Just two weeks after formalizing its merger with Centex, the new Pulte has taken a first step toward its formidable goal of building strong brand names across the newly merged company's product lines: it has hired Deborah W. Meyer, an experienced auto industry marketing executive, as its first chief marketing officer.

Meyer, who will report directly to CEO Richard J. Dugas and carry a vice president title as well, is charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive brand strategy for the Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Pulte, which became the largest home builder in the country Aug. 18.

“Ms. Meyer will work to align the distinct sales, marketing, and home buying experiences that exist within the Pulte Homes, Centex, and Del Webb brands," according to the Sept. 1 announcement by the public builder.

Meyer won’t have to relocate to join Pulte: Her last job was in the Motor City, where she worked for Chrysler as chief marketing officer. She worked for the automaker for 18 months, until last December, according to Adweek magazine. The carmaker's short-lived chief marketing position was eliminated after Meyer left, the trade publication reported.

Before joining Chrysler, Meyer was Toyota Motor Sales USA’s first chief marketing officer, working as vice president of marketing for the company’s Lexus division. She has also worked on Ford’s Lincoln brand and Mazda.
“Deborah is a recognized and respected global marketing executive, and we are thrilled for her to join our team at this exciting and important time,” Dugas said in the announcement. “Following our merger, we are in a great position to initiate an innovative branding strategy enabling us to more effectively reach customers within the first time, move-up, and active adult buyer segments.”

A Detroit native, Meyer left her hometown for an education and to establish her career. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Wellesley College and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. She began her career at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. In 2005, Meyer was named one of the "100 Leading Women in the North American Automotive Industry" by Automotive News.

“I am very excited about joining Pulte, as the company is truly in position to change the competitive dynamic within the home building industry,” said Meyer in the announcement. “By clearly defining our brands with potential customers and developing innovative solutions for their needs, we can more effectively and efficiently bring home buyers into our communities, while working to exceed their expectations throughout the home buying and home ownership experience.”

Teresa Burney is a senior editor at BUILDER and BIG BUILDER magazines.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Detroit, MI, New York, NY.