MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer David Kroll is taking a medical leave of absence to undergo open-heart surgery. The leave will begin on Feb. 13 and he is expected to return by early May.
In Mr. Kroll's absence, the marketing team will report to MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley. "Fortunately, David and his marketing team have nearly all of their 2017 plans and programs locked down and ready to execute," Mr. Hattersley stated in an email to MillerCoors employees that the brewer shared with Ad Age.
The surgery will occur at the Cleveland Clinic to correct a previously diagnosed aortic issue, according to the email. "David has been living with this issue for several years and is looking forward to putting it behind him," Mr. Hattersley stated.
Mr. Kroll in an interview said the issue "wasn't urgent … but it is something that I inevitably needed to take care of." He said that in his absence, Mr. Hattersley will "take on high-level oversight of the marketing team." But he added that "we have a very strong marketing leadership team at MillerCoors and we are going to be looking at each of those people to step up in respective fashion."
He said that Coors Light will continue its "Climb On" campaign, which launched a year ago under 72andSunny. Miller Lite has been running a campaign called "Spelled Different Because It's Brewed Different" by 80LA that has emphasized product quality and heritage. Of late, the brand's ads have taken some shots at Bud Light. Mr. Kroll said Lite plans to "evolve the line" referring to the tagline -- "but it won't feel like a different campaign."