Former Chrysler and GM media chief Tony Cervone is joining Volkswagen of America as executive vice president, group communications, with immediate effect.

Cervone will report to president and CEO Jonathan Browning and will be a member of the Herndon, Virginia-based executive management team.

Cervone will be responsible for corporate media relations, all public relations campaigns, community partnerships and philanthropy. One of his first tasks will be the launch of the Tennessee-built, US-specific Passat, unveiled at January’s Detroit show.

Cervone joined VW from United Airlines. Before that he had 14 years at Chrysler and 10 years at GM in senior communications roles.

He has replaced Jill Bratina, who headed communications during the short tenure of former VWoA chief Stefan Jacoby, who left VW to become the head of Volvo, and was replaced by Browning, The Car Connection website said.

Website said Cervone’s sudden departure from GM, in February 2009, shocked many observers who felt he was on the fast track to run that company’s large public relations arm.  But the move also came just three months before GM entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and since then, only one executive in a senior position has remained with the company.

He quit United after the airline merged with rival Continental, that report added.