Why more brands are ditching the CMO position
A deep dive into why companies are ridding themselves of the long-respected chief marketing role
Ad Age published the article, “Why more brands are ditching the CMO position," that quotes Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Evan Sharp. In it, he shares why companies are choosing to eliminate the role of Chief Marketing Officer. The article is excerpted below.
Chief marketing officers, who have among the shortest tenures in the C-suite, are used to pressure. But now their very existence is coming under threat. Several big-name companies have recently done away with the CMO position altogether—including Johnson & Johnson, Uber, Lyft, Beam Suntory, Taco Bell and Hyatt Hotels, accelerating a trend that began a few years ago.
Evan Sharp, a consultant in the CMO practice at recruiting firm Russell Reynolds Associates, says there is a “growing groundswell” to move away from the CMO moniker to reflect the new ways companies are reaching customers, including with data-driven personalized communication. Even Russell Reynolds is adapting: The firm is rebranding its CMO practice to be called “customer activation and growth.”
Historically “CMOs were all about outbound marketing and ‘we tell the customer who we are, what we stand for.’ Now it’s all about having a conversation with the customer being two-way,” Sharp says. “That’s often why these titles are changing, because the way companies are marketing has become a balance of left-brain, right-brain. It’s no longer all about creative.”
Sharp pointed to Hyatt Hotels, which early last year eliminated its global chief marketing officer position, parting ways with Maryam Banikarim, who had held the post since 2015. The hotel chain created a chief commercial officer position, filling it with Mark Vondrasek, who reports directly to CEO Mark Hoplamazian and oversees a huge range of operations, including loyalty programs, global sales, revenue management, distribution strategy, corporate marketing, communications, digital and customer-service centers. The change was part of a larger corporate restructuring meant to “allow Hyatt to better focus, prioritize and coordinate its activities driving guest and customer engagement,” the company stated in a press release.
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