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Dana Anderson Leaves Mondelez in Marketer's Biggest Executive Shakeup Yet

By Published on .

Dana Anderson.
Dana Anderson. Credit: Courtesy Mondelez International
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Mondelēz International Chief Marketing Officer Dana Anderson is leaving the company, perhaps the biggest sign of major changes to come at the maker of Oreo cookies, which also announced two executive hires.

Anderson, a former Kraft Foods executive who has been with Mondelēz since the company separated from Kraft in 2012, is leaving effective April 28 to become CMO of MediaLink.

Mondelēz said it plans to use Anderson's departure as a way to evolve the CMO role within the organization, which has been trying to tighten its focus on its so-called "power brands," its major sellers including Oreo, Belvita, Milka, Cadbury, and Trident.

"Dana has been a creative and change catalyst for our company, and we're deeply appreciative of her many contributions," Chief Growth Officer Tim Cofer said in a statement. "Our search for a successor will focus on finding a digital-first, disruptive and innovative leader who can build on Dana's legacy and mobilize breakthrough marketing in a rapidly changing global consumer landscape."

Between her time at Kraft and later at Mondelēz, Anderson has been with the company since 2009. She was previously on the agency side of the industry, incuding serving as president-CEO of DDB Chicago. Anderson is known as a leader who has pushed Mondelēz to embrace a culture of "fearless marketing." She is often called on as a dynamic, engaging speaker at industry events.

Anderson declined to say muc about her tenure at Mondelez during a brief phone interview on Monday. Anderson, who became CMO in September 2014, has pushed the snack maker to expand its marketing reach through a mix of traditional advertising and content creation.

"After nearly a decade of sharing the stories of some of the world's most iconic brands, I'm both thankful for and proud of my time at Mondelēz International," Anderson said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to a new and different chapter in my career and have every confidence my global marketing colleagues will continue to achieve great things as they find new and innovative ways to connect with today's consumers."

Mondelez is not yet naming a successor for Anderson, but it did announce the appointment of two outside executives in other roles.

Stefania Gvillo was named global head of strategic insights. She joins Mondelez after about 15 years at PepsiCo, where she was most recently VP of portfolio strategy and consumer insights, according to her LinkedIn profile. Gvillo fills a role previously held by Maria Alvarado, who is based in Zurich and plans to leave the company in September.

Mondelez said Jay Gouliard is joining May 1 in the newly created role of global head of packaging. Mondelez cited his background in both structure and graphics, with roles at consumer packaged goods marketers including Unilever and Coca-Cola.

Anderson's departure is the latest in a series of exits by Mondelez executives in recent months. Among the departures in 2016, Bonin Bough, chief media and e-commerce officer, left to pursue his own projects, and Laura Henderson, global head of content and media monetization, left to join BuzzFeed. Bob Rupczynksi joined in November as VP-head of global media and digital from Kraft Heinz Co., then left in March to take on a new role at McDonald's as the fast-feeder's global VP-media and customer relationship management.

And just last week, Mondelez announced Roberto Marques, exec VP and president of its North America business, is leaving. For now, Cofer is taking over that role in an interim capacity as the company searches for a permanent successor.

The latest changes come after the Wall Street Journal reported in early April that Mondelez had hired Heidrick & Struggles as it prepares to pick a successor for lingtime Chairman-CEO Irene Rosenfeld. She has been CEO since 2006 and chairman since 2007.

Also on Monday, Mondelez touted the hiring it has done as it works to increase its e-commerce business, pointing out that it has hired nearly 100 people since it launched a five-year strategic growth plan in late 2015. Among them, Jeff Jarrett joined as VP-global head of e-commerce in October 2016 from Kimberly-Clark.

Mondelez aims to get at least $1 billion in revenue from e-commerce by 2020.

The company faces increasing competition, particularly from smaller snack companies focused on better-for-you products. Revenue fell 12.5% last year but rose 1.3% when looking at underlying results and excluding factors including divestitures and currency fluctuations. On that so-called "organic net revenue" basis, which the company emphasizes over net results, it expects revenue to rise at least 1% in 2017.

Mondelez was the 129th largest U.S. advertiser in 2015, with spending up 17.8% to $327.9 million, according to the Ad Age Datacenter.

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