Coca-Cola has tapped Marcos de Quinto as its new chief marketing officer.
He replaces Joe Tripodi, who had been in the role for seven years. Mr. De Quinto has been president of the Iberia business unit since January 2000 covering Spain and Portugal.
Mr. Tripodi was named chief marketing and commercial officer in July 2007. He followed a string of high-profile marketers, including Steve Heyer, Mary Minnick and Esther Lee. His appointment marked the first time Coca-Cola had unified traditional advertising, point-of-purchase marketing and in-store sales under a single executive.
Mr. De Quinto will not have responsibility for the commercial aspects that Mr. Tripodi had handled, which included global oversight of point-of-sale and in-store execution strategies and capabilities. A Coca-Cola spokesman said the company is reviewing that aspect of the role. Mr. Tripodi will work with Mr. De Quinto between now and February, as he transitions into the role. Mr. De Quinto is expected to relocate to Atlanta from Madrid by January.
Coca-Cola executives have talked openly with analysts in recent months about the need to improve its marketing and commercial strategies. "There's no question that we need to improve our execution in many markets, especially our consumer marketing and commercial strategies," Chairman-CEO Muhtar Kent said during the company's most recent earnings call.
Mr. Kent had already pledged to increase media spending and brand-building initiatives by up to $1 billion, by 2016. He noted during an earnings call earlier this year that marketing investments would be felt "in every country that we operate in large or small." Those investments will be funded through a combination of cost-cutting initiatives and improved utilization of the company's global marketing network.
Some analysts have balked at the decision, however, questioning whether the headwinds facing the company can be offset with increased marketing.
"We have a tremendous amount of experience to say that good marketing … works for our business, and it will work for our business," Mr. Kent said in February. "When we invest in marketing, our global partners invest in feet on the street, in more coolers, in more trucks, in more lines and that's what we see happening."
Mr. De Quinto isn't well known in marketing circles. Wendy Clark, president-sparkling and strategic marketing, Coca-Cola North America; Katie Bayne, senior VP-global sparkling brand center; and Dan Sayre, president North West Europe and Nordics division, were all said to be in the running for the CMO job, according to several executives familiar with the company. The Coca-Cola spokesman declined to comment, citing the company's deep bench of talent, as well as highlighting Mr. De Quinto's global expertise, which includes a blend of marketing and general management experience.
Mr. De Quinto appears to have a keen interest in current affairs and culture, based on his Twitter feed, which is entirely in Spanish. He tweets daily from his handle @marcosdequinto. In his Twitter profile, he describes himself as "Pirate. I sail without a flag. I'm not trying to convince you of anything, just perhaps make you question what you believe in."
In his lively, wide-ranging 5,308 tweets to date, he chats about Spanish region Cataluna's vote on secession, comments on concerts he attends, and occasionally tweets about Coca-Cola projects.
Mr. De Quinto joined the company in 1982 in Coca-Cola Espana's marketing department. He has been marketing director of Coca-Cola Espana and Coca-Cola's German division, as well as division marketing manager of Coca-Cola Southeast and West Asia. Mr. De Quinto also had a brief stint as regional manager of Southern Publicity Agencies ALAS BATES/BSB Advertising.
"Although Marcos' DNA is that of a marketer, he has held a number of leadership roles throughout his career, and he will bring a global view with strong operational experience to this role," CEO Muhtar Kent said in a statement. "Through Marcos' leadership the Iberia Business Unit has become one of our best marketing centers of excellence worldwide. Our global marketing organization will benefit greatly from Marcos' proven track record of success and his unique combination of world-class operational and marketing expertise."
During Mr. Tripodi's tenure, Coca-Cola was named Ad Age's Marketer of the Year in 2011, as well as Creative Marketer of the Year at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In 2012, the soft-drinks giant enjoyed its most-successful year at the Cannes festival, winning a total of 30 Lions, including the Outdoor Grand Prix for "Coke Hands" by Ogilvy Shanghai. Its marketers around the world have coalesced behind the idea of "Open Happiness," which replaced "Coke Side of Life" in 2009. That same year, Mr. Tripodi oversaw the winnowing of Coca-Cola's agency roster from 82 creative shops around the world to about 30.
The company has also refined its approach to global marketing, with an eye toward creating campaigns that can be distributed broadly. Most recently, "The World's Cup" effort became Coca-Cola's largest campaign to date, with 175 markets, or 85% of its 207 markets, adopting the program. By comparison, 100 markets embraced the 2012 London Olympic Summer Games campaign.
In a statement, Mr. Tripodi said he was proud of what the company has accomplished during his tenure. "Together, we created a higher performing networked global organization, led the evolution of consumer engagement to build our brands through deeper relationships with people, sparked new innovation across products, packages, equipment, partnerships and business models, and set the foundation for great success ahead," Mr. Tripodi said, noting he'll be turning 60 next year and is looking forward to his retirement.
With contributions from Laurel Wentz