Chris Carroll Returns to Subway

Chain Won't Say He is CMO, But Execs Say He Is Overseeing Marketing

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Chris Carroll
Chris Carroll Credit: SeeQuent Photography/PR NEWSWIRE/Newscom

Former Subway global marketer Chris Carroll has returned to the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Carroll had recently been involved again with Subway in a consulting and marketing role that involved the creative review that is underway, according to people familiar with the business. It's not clear what his exact title is or how long he will stay on. Some executives said that he is likely next in line for the chief marketing officer role, replacing Tony Pace, who Ad Age reported earlier this week was leaving the company to start his own marketing consultancy called Cerebral Graffiti.

The company said that Mr. Carroll has not been named chief marketing officer, however. "Chris Carroll has not been named Subway CMO," said a spokeswoman yesterday.

Mr. Carroll's involvement comes as the agency is reviewing its creative advertising account, which is currently at MMB.

Subway suspended its relationship with longtime spokesman Jared Fogle after federal authorities investigated his home on the morning of July 7. Authorities did not say why they investigated the home, and Mr. Fogle was not charged with a crime.

For Mr. Carroll, the move is a return to Subway. He previously was the company's senior VP of global marketing from 1999 to 2005, according to his LinkedIn page. After that he was the CMO of fast-casual chain Cosi from 2006 to 2008. In 2009, he was the chief client officer at Zimmerman, an agency well known for multiple fast food and retail clients. In 2013, he went to be the VP of sales and marketing of Liberty Tax Service, a job he held for less than a year.

If Mr. Carroll stays on board long-term, one of the first orders of business will likely be to help reverse the privately held company's sales slide. Subway last year had its first decline in U.S. systemwide sales in years, 3%, according to Technomic. Though sales were down, store count was up almost 3% in the U.S. in 2014 to 27,205.

Though Mr. Fogle has appeared in recent ads, he hasn't been featured as prominently as he once was, as the chain diversified its marketing and incorporated its Famous Fans and promotions for more premium products. The latter of which was sometimes at the expense of the marketing of its $5 footlongs, a product that brought in cost-conscious customers.

Subway in 2014 spent about $533.2 million on U.S. measured media, according to Kantar Media, up 3.5% from $515.2 million.

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