Mazda’s head of marketing for N.A. operations departs

Russell Wager joined Mazda North America in Oct. 2012.

Russell Wager, vice president of marketing for Mazda North American Operations, has left the company after nearly six years.

A company spokeswoman confirmed Wager’s departure late Friday but did not not provide additional details.

Wager’s departure comes as Mazda Corp. moves to reshape and reposition the brand in North America as a more premium producer of light trucks and cars.

Behind big gains in crossover demand, the company’s U.S. sales have climbed 9.9 percent this year in a market that has expanded just 1.1 percent.

Last year, when Dino Bernacchi was tasked with leading the automaker’s marketing face lift as its newly appointed chief marketing officer for U.S. operations, Mazda spokesman Thomas McDonald told Automotive News that Dino Bernacchi was “absolutely not” hired to take over Wager’s position.

Mazda is also undertaking a global upgrade of its dealership network with plans to renovate or construct 300 stores by 2021.

Wager, who joined Mazda North America in October 2012, managed U.S. marketing communications, and oversaw ties with Garage Team Mazda, the company’s marketing communications agency.

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