Record Marketing Turnover and the CMO Succession Crisis
To better understand current trends in the appointment and turnover of marketing officers, Russell Reynolds Associates tracked and analyzed 187 notable, publicly disclosed marketing-leadership moves in the first half of 2017.
Acute CMO succession crisis. 72 percent of publicly reported chief marketing officer appointments in the first half of 2017 were external hires, up from 64 percent this time last year. This trend suggests internal CMO succession planning continues to be a major challenge for most businesses. It also implies aspiring next generation CMO leaders will need to change employers to reach the next level of their career.
Record turnover continues. 2017 continues to witness the persistent trend of high volume of marketing- leadership turnover. 187 reported marketing-leader appointments in a six month period is the greatest number we have observed since we began comprehensively tracking all major appointments nearly five years ago. Marketing-leadership continues to demonstrate high volatility.
Gender parity stalls slightly. 41 percent of first half 2017 marketing-leadership appointments were women.
This is down from a record high of 47 percent in the second half of 2016.
Help wanted outside of healthcare and industrial. Both healthcare and industrial continued their trend of appointing marketing leaders from outside their respective industry, with 78 percent and 57 percent of their marketing-leader appointments recruiting talent from outside the industry in Q1-Q2, respectively. The consumer and technology industries each accounted for 43 percent of the cross-industry hires into healthcare organizations.
Industry insiders for the rest. The consumer and technology industries maintained their trend of appointing marketing leaders from within their own industries, at 76 and 71 percent, respectively. Financial services companies, which a year ago were known to seek marketing-leadership from outside the industry, have only done so 27 percent of the time in the last 12 months.
Quick service restaurants in flux. In Q1-Q2 2017, QSRs accounted for 57 percent of all marketing-leader appointments within leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants, retail services, airlines, hotels, sports organizations, etc., as well as 17 percent of all consumer. Of the 20 most successful QSRs in the US1, seven changed marketing leaders in the past six months and 60 percent of them have done so in the past 24 months.
CMOs not getting promoted. Of the marketing leaders who left their role in Q3-Q4 2016, only 21 percent were internally promoted. Of those who left their company, 22 percent were "externally promoted," taking a higher role at a different company.
Industry Breakdown of Marketing Moves
The consumer industry as a whole accounted for slightly above 50 percent of the marketing-leadership turnover in the first half of 2017, up from 49 percent in the final two quarters of 2016 and down from 53 percent in the same time period last year. The retail sector still showed signs similar to the volatility it had a year ago amassing 15 percent of all marketing moves, which is comparable to the 16 percent in Q1-Q2 2016. The leisure and hospitality sector had the same proportion in Q1-Q2 2017 – 15 percent – which was up from 10 percent year-over-year. For the remainder of the sectors within consumer, 13 percent of marketing moves in Q1-Q2 were made by consumer digital and media companies and 7 percent took place within consumer products and services, down from 19 and 9 percent, respectively.
Outside of consumer, not much has changed in terms of the proportion of marketing-leader changes, although in the last two years, the healthcare industry has more than doubled its "market" share amongst the group.
Internal vs. External Hires
Top marketers continue to be hired for, as opposed to being promoted into, the most senior marketing-leadership role in a company. The share of external appointments accounted for 72 percent of all moves versus 74 percent in
Q3-Q4 2016 and 64 percent during Q1-Q2 2016. Internal appointments increased slightly – now 23 percent – in H1 2017 but there remains a clear succession problem for CMOs as less than one in four marketing-leadership changes was someone from within their respective company.
For internal appointments, the average tenure with the company prior to promotion was 7.3 years across all industries, up from 6.3 years in the final two quarters of 2016, yet down from the 9.9 years of experience prior to promotion seen in the first half of 2016.
Technology and healthcare companies have been averse to internally promoting top marketing talent, with 89 percent (up from 88) and 82 (down from 89) percent of their appointments coming from outside the organization, respectively. The consumer products and services sector, which is known for having legacy consumer packaged goods companies with marketing-lifers, was the only sector/industry to have a majority of internal marketing promotions. Just 46 percent of the marketing appointments in the sector were external, a decrease from 64 percent in Q1-Q2 2016, which was among the lowest of the group at that time, as well.
Inside of Industry vs. Outside of Industry
Both consumer and technology continued a strong trend of external appointments coming mainly from within their respective industries. In the first half of 2017, 75 percent of external hires were intra-industry for consumer companies, which was a sizeable decrease from the 83 percent in all of 2016. There may be a new trend within the financial services industry of hiring top marketers from inside the industry – 64 and 77 percent of appointments in H1 of 2017 and H2 of 2016 – which was not the case just a year ago.
In contrast, healthcare and industrial and natural resources companies continued their tendency to poach marketing talent from other industries. Just 22 percent of healthcare external marketing hires were intra-industry as were only 43 percent of industrial and natural resources' appointments.
Overall, in the first half of 2017, 68 percent of all external marketing appointments were intra-industry. Taking into account the individual consumer sectors – apparel / retail, consumer digital and media, consumer products and services and leisure and hospitality – just over half of all appointments were intra-sector. Specifically, both apparel/ retail and consumer digital and media companies hired a majority of their marketing leaders from outside their respective sectors in H1 2017, which was not the case in the six months prior. Intra-sector appointments in apparel/ retail came in at just 45 percent which was down from 73 percent in H2 2016, while the consumer digital and media sector was down to 44 from 65 percent.
Where Do Chief Marketing Officers Go?
Though the proportion of promotions for marketers who exited in the last half of 2016 compared to the first half has increased from 9 to 21 percent, there is still the concern that there is not much promise for CMOs to move up within their own organization. Even moving up by joining another organization only occurred one in five times. The one positive from this is that CMO tenure is beginning to increase, as those who left their role in H2 2016 had an average tenure of 3.7 years.
APPAREL / RETAIL
Abercrombie & Fitch has appointed Will Smith as chief marketing officer. Smith is responsible for all brand, creative and digital marketing. He was most recently chief marketing officer, Famous Footwear, at Caleres.
Albertsons Companies has appointed Narayan Iyengar as senior vice president, digital marketing and e-commerce. Iyengar is responsible for all aspects of digital marketing including loyalty programs, shopper marketing and the company's overall digital presence, including home delivery. He was most recently vice president, e-commerce and Digital Travel Trade, at The Walt Disney Company.
Amazon has appointed Rob Sorensen as head of marketing, Amazon Books. Sorensen was most recently senior vice president, marketing and omnichannel, at LensCrafters.
Aspen Dental has appointed Will Setliff as chief marketing officer. Setliff is responsible for defining and driving brand and marketing goals that support the company's growth strategy, focusing on creating a single voice of the customer and driving an omnichannel platform. He was most recently executive vice president, marketing, at Kohl's.
At Home has appointed Ashley Sheetz as chief marketing officer. Sheetz was most recently senior vice president and director, business strategy & innovation, at MARC USA.
Belle Tire has appointed Vivek Saran as chief marketing officer. Saran was most recently group vice president and chief marketing officer at Sally Beauty.
Big Lots saw the departure of its chief customer officer, Andrew Stein.
BSN Sports has appointed Jared Drinkwater as chief marketing officer. Drinkwater was most recently vice president, marketing, at Pizza Hut.
Burlington Stores has appointed Fred Hand as chief customer officer. Hand is responsible for overseeing store operations, real estate and store design/construction, marketing, strategy and e-commerce. He was most recently vice president, stores, at the company.
Canada Goose saw the departure of its chief brand officer, Kevin Spreekmeester.
Coach has appointed Carlos Becil as chief marketing officer. Becil was most recently chief marketing officer at Equinox.
Dick's Sporting Goods has appointed Scott Hudler as senior vice president, chief marketing officer. Hudler was most recently chief digital officer at Dunkin Brands.
HoneyBaked Ham Company has appointed Jo Ann Herold as chief marketing officer. Herold is responsible for strategic marketing, directing development and execution to generate continued demand for products and participation with the brand. She was most recently interim chief marketing officer at Tropical Smoothie Café.
JCPenney has appointed Marci Grebstein as executive vice president, chief marketing officer. Grebstein was most recently chief marketing officer at Lowe's.
Kohl's has appointed Greg Revelle as chief marketing officer. Revelle is responsible for the company's overall marketing strategy and will focus on driving customer engagement through analytics, enhancing the loyalty platform, accelerating customer traffic and continuing to build Kohl's overall brand position. He was most recently chief marketing officer at Best Buy.
Lowe's has appointed Jocelyn Wong as chief marketing officer. Wong is responsible for leading customer experience design, content strategy and development, customer relationship management, advertising and media. She was most recently senior vice president and general merchandising manager, Seasonal, at the company.
Mattress Firm has appointed Sicily Dickenson as chief marketing officer. Dickenson was most recently chief marketing officer and senior vice president, marketing and customer experience, at NRG Energy.
Pilot Flying J has appointed Whitney Haslam-Johnson as chief experience officer. Haslam-Johnson is responsible for leading marketing innovation and enhancements across all channels, the rebranding and remodeling of all Pilot and Flying J locations, directing sports and marketing sponsorships and the rollout of new digital communication tools. She was most recently vice president, brand and customer experience, at the company.
Ralph Lauren has appointed Jonathan Bottomley as chief marketing officer. Bottomley was most recently chief strategy officer at Vice Media.
Redbox has appointed Ash Eldifrawi as chief marketing and customer experience officer. Eldifrawi is responsible for all functions of marketing including digital marketing, advertising, brand, loyalty programs, marketing communications, and creative services. He was most recently chief commercial officer at Gogo.
Rue21 has appointed Brett Trent as chief marketing officer. Trent is responsible for expanding the use of data and technology to more closely interact with rue21's customers at every brand touchpoint. He was most recently chief digital officer at the company.
Sears Canada has appointed Zach James as senior vice president, marketing. James was most recently vice president, corporate and category marketing, at Walmart Canada.
Staples has appointed Michelle Bottomley as chief marketing officer. Bottomley is responsible for marketing across the company, helping Staples pivot to focusing on its North American delivery business. She was most recently chief marketing officer at Mercer.
Target has appointed Rick Gomez as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Gomez is responsible for marketing and media strategy, creative, marketing communications, guest research, loyalty, and corporate communications. He was most recently senior vice president, marketing, at the company.
Tom Ford has appointed Charlotte Blechman as chief marketing officer. Blechman was most recently executive vice president, marketing and communications, at Barneys New York.
Toys 'R' US has appointed Carla Hassan as executive vice president, global chief marketing officer. Hassan is responsible for developing a global marketing strategy to drive growth and positioning and enhancing the relevancy of the brand by leveraging relationships with vendors and licensing partners to increase positive consumer perception. She was most recently senior vice president, brand management – Global Beverages, at PepsiCo.
Walgreens Boots Alliance has appointed Adam Holyk as chief marketing officer. Holyk is responsible for marketing and brand strategy, specifically omni-channel marketing activities supporting the retail, pharmacy and healthcare businesses and managing customer loyalty and customer offer development. He was most recently vice president, corporate strategy development, at the company.
CONSUMER DIGITAL AND MEDIA
Ai Media Group has appointed Stephanie Anderson as chief marketing and strategy officer. Anderson is responsible for all strategy, marketing and business development initiatives. She was most recently senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Time Warner Cable.
Ancestry.com has appointed Vineet Mehra as chief marketing officer. Mehra was most recently president, Baby Care, at Johnson & Johnson.
Art.com has appointed Lisa Sullivan-Cross as chief marketing officer. Sullivan-Cross was most recently vice president, growth and brand marketing, at Pandora Media.
EatStreet has appointed Suzanne Harms as chief marketing officer. Harms is responsible for driving the company's growth through heightened brand awareness, customer acquisition, retention and customer insights. She is also serving as chief creative officer responsible for building a fan-focused brand. She was most recently vice president, marketing and creative, as Duluth Trading Company.
eBay has appointed Olivier Ropars as vice president and chief marketing officer, Stubhub. Ropars was most recently head of global performance marketing and customer acquisition at eBay.
FOX Television Group has appointed Shannon Ryan as chief marketing officer. Ryan is responsible for all marketing and publicity for Fox, Twentieth Century Fox Television, and Fox 21 Television Studios. She was most recently executive vice president, marketing and communications, at the company.
FOX Television Group has also appointed Darren Schillace as executive vice president, marketing. Schillace is responsible for managing the company's marketing strategy, media, social content marketing, affiliate marketing, and brand partnerships. He was most recently senior vice president, marketing strategy, at ABC Television.
Freeform has appointed Tricia Melton as senior vice president, marketing. Melton is responsible for the creative marketing vision for the network and spearheading the strategic execution of all marketing activities across linear and digital platforms, including integrated marketing, audience development, franchise and brand management, and promotional partnerships. She was most recently senior vice president, entertainment marketing and branding – TBS, TNT, and Turner Classic Movies, at Turner Broadcasting.
Getty Images has appointed Gene Foca as chief marketing officer. Foca was most recently senior vice president, marketing, at FreshDirect.
Havas New York has appointed Jon Dupuis as chief performance marketing officer and managing director. Dupuis was most recently senior vice president, marketing, at DigitasLBi.
Instacart saw the departure of its chief marketing officer, Cheryl Law.
Leo Burnett has appointed Katie Newman as chief marketing officer, United States. Newman is responsible for innovating and incubating a new model that puts data at the forefront of the creative process. She was most recently chief marketing officer at Ardent.
MediaLink has appointed Dana Anderson as chief marketing officer, United States. Anderson is responsible for helping deliver brand performance by focusing on transformation efforts that change behavior and connect to new ways of working, strengthening brands, supporting growth and partnership initiatives, sharpening strategies and enhancing execution. She was most recently senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Mondelez.
Open Road Films has appointed Loren Schwartz as president, marketing. Schwartz was most recently executive vice president, marketing, at Screen Gems.
Organic has appointed Michelle Tang as chief growth officer. Tang was most recently chief marketing officer, FCB New York, at FCB Global.
Showtime Networks has appointed Donald Buckley as chief marketing officer. Buckley is responsible for the marketing, creative advertising, and digital media divisions for the company, including consumer marketing, promotions, media, and the day-to-day operations for digital marketing, broadband, mobile, emerging-platform initiatives, and multiplatform content. He was most recently senior vice president, digital services, at the company.
Slice has appointed Ryan Scott as chief marketing officer. Scott was most recently chief marketing officer at SoulCycle.
Sorenson Media has appointed Tom Roberts as chief marketing officer. Roberts is responsible for all marketing activities including brand development, corporate communications, customer acquisition, digital, and content marketing. He was most recently senior vice president, marketing, at Sprint.
STX Entertainment has appointed Eddie Egan as president, domestic marketing – STXfilms. Egan is responsible for overseeing creative advertising, research, digital marketing, public relations, promotions, events, and media and innovation. He was most recently head of marketing at the company.
Uber has appointed Bozoma Saint John as chief brand officer. Saint John was most recently head of global and consumer marketing for iTunes at Apple.
Viacom has appointed Niels Schuurmans as chief marketing officer – Paramount Network, TV Land & CMT. Schuurmans was most recently executive vice president, marketing and creative content solutions, at the company.
Vox Media has appointed Lindsay Nelson as chief marketing officer. Nelson is responsible for overseeing a new marketing division within Vox that encompasses branded content, revenue streams, ad partnerships, as well as all external marketing efforts. She was most recently global head of brand strategy at the company.
WPP has appointed Jim Meyer as chief marketing officer, GroupM – North America. Meyer is responsible for marketing the company's platform technologies and service organization, which helps clients apply deep audience insights throughout their campaign. He was most recently chief marketing officer, North America, at Ipsos.