Some of the country's biggest marketers are on the hunt for chief marketing officers. From Target to Old Navy, Quaker to Taco Bell, there are some plum openings to be filled at the moment. But, the marketers that take the helm will have plenty of challenges to overcome.
Location: Plano, Texas
Vacant since: July
JCPenney is embarking on a new chapter in its nearly 100-year history. Ron Johnson, the brain behind the Apple retail experience, surprised the industry and delighted Wall Street this summer by announcing he'd be taking on the CEO role Nov. 1. At the same time, Mike Boylson, who led JCPenney's marketing team for more than eight years, opted to take an early retirement to pursue other interests. The retailer's agency is Saatchi & Saatchi.
Why you want the job: It's a chance to work with visionaries such as Mr. Johnson and Michael Francis, former Target CMO, as they attempt to reinvent the aged department-store experience. A $1.2 billion budget doesn't hurt, either.
Why you don't: Department stores have been dying off slowly but surely for more than a decade.
Location: Irvine, Calif.
Vacant since: August
Taco Bell is Yum Brands' biggest and most-profitable brand in the U.S, and it's planning an extensive expansion in China. But the chain is still suffering from the aftermath of a lawsuit that questioned whether its ground beef was actually ground beef (the suit was later withdrawn). Taco Bell's franchise council has griped about the chain's handling of the lawsuit and called for an agency review. Taco Bell continues to stand by its agency, DraftFCB.
Why you want the job: The chain says it's planning a breakthrough product unveiling early next year that will "reinvent the taco," as well as more rollouts for its breakfast menu. It spends $275 million on measured media.
Why you don't: Taco Bell is facing increasing competition from other Mexican chains, including Chipotle and Qdoba
Location: Mission Bay, Calif.
Vacant since: June
It's a brand trying to figure who it's targeting. There was the ill-fated fast-fashion experiment followed by a shift back to families. That shift was embodied by the Supermodelquins, who managed to be both creepy and lovable, but got the boot for the current mildly successful music-themed campaign. Old Navy works with CP&B.
Why you want the job: It's a fun, kitschy brand -- think Morgan Fairchild, Vogue's Carrie Donovan, Magic the "spokesdog." It's also the biggest spender in Gap Inc.'s stable, with a $220 million measured media budget.
Why you don't: The former CMO, Amy Curtis-McIntyre, lasted just over a year. CEO Glenn Murphy has been candid in discussing shortcomings of various campaigns, and most recently, those criticisms have targeted Old Navy.
Vacant since: October 3
The cheap-chic retailer has long been a favorite among consumers. It continually innovates in marketing -- gift cards that double as cameras, models traipsing down the sides of skyscrapers -- and design -- Missoni, anyone? It's also been a consistently strong performer in the retail category, posting a 5% sales increase during the second quarter. Target works with Wieden & Kennedy, spending $1.2 billion on advertising annually.
Why you want the job: Former CMO Michael Francis helmed marketing for a decade. There's a solid base to build on, but bringing in a new marketing chief is an opportunity to inject fresh thinking.
Why you don't: Target launched its new e-commerce site, unhitching itself from Amazon, in late August. It hasn't gone well. Repairing relationships with disenchanted consumers will take time.
QUAKER OATS Co. (owned by PepsiCo)
Vacant since: April
A small cog in PepsiCo's machine, Quaker remains profitable but is trying to overcome slumping revenue and market share losses. Kirsten Lynch, CMO since late 2009, left in April to stay home with her family, the company told Ad Age . The marketer installed Kathryn Matheson, a 15-year PepsiCo veteran in Canada, on an interim basis.
Why you want the job: PepsiCo says Quaker is a key part of its strategy to push nutrition and has pledged to put more marketing spending behind the unit, which got $56 million in measured media outlays last year.
Why you don't: Quaker is in some tough categories. In oatmeal, for instance, it is fending off private label, plus new competition from McDonald's and Starbucks.
Location: Dublin, Ohio
Vacant since: June
It's a new day in the executive suite at Wendy's . CMO Ken Calwell departed in June. Then last month Roland Smith announced he was leaving his post as president-CEO; Emil Brolick rejoined Wendy's to replace him. The chain's agency is Kaplan Thaler Group, and it spends $280 million on measured media.
Why you want the job: Wendy's has been working on a menu revamp -- new burgers, fries and salads, so far -- which could help sales, which have been spotty. And now that the parent company has jettisoned Arby's , it can focus on Wendy's .
Why you don't: It's the perennial No. 3 in the category after Burger King and McDonald's. But even those chains are facing increasing competition from the so-called better-burger outlets, like Five Guys.