As the CMO role evolves, do female marketers stand to benefit?

A broader focus on propelling diversity in leadership could serve as an equalizer to break up the industry's boys' club.

Marketing Dive | October 2, 2019

The Marketing Dive article, "As the CMO role evolves, do female marketers stand to benefit?" featured the Russell Reynolds Associates paper, "Marketing Moves: Q1 – Q2 2019." The article is excerpted below.

A key theme at this year's Advertising Week was that gender parity is closer than ever. On the heels of a September study that pointed to a record number of female leadership appointments in marketing departments, the annual gathering of the advertising industry featured dozens of panels and workshops championing women's advancements and vocalizing their feats, from "Women Shifting Culture: How to Harness the Power of the Female Voice" and "Discover Talk: It's a Great Time to be a Woman."


Internal pressure cooker

A fresh report from management consulting firm Russell Reynolds Associates notes that female marketers are increasingly winning spots in the C-suite, with 48% of chief marketer appointments going to women in the first half of 2019. Women appear to be making gains at the highest level within companies, as the previous record was in the second half of 2016, when 47% of women were hired as CMOs. The report went so far as to say that "gender parity is almost here." Examples include hires such as Jennie Perry, CMO of Amazon Prime North America, and Allison Peterson, CMO of Best Buy.


Russell Reynolds' report from September notes that over 80% of CMO appointments in the first half of 2019 were external hires, suggesting that most next-generation leaders must switch employers to reach top marketing positions.

"Though internal promotions are being seen in less than one in five CMO appointments, organizations are moving away from elevating long-tenured marketing executives into the top role," per the report.

Russell Reynolds highlights challenges marketers face in moving up the ladder as the skills required to be a CMO evolve, often in ways that don't prepare employees for leadership roles.

To read the full article, click here.

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As the CMO role evolves, do female marketers stand to benefit?