Ex-Ford Marketer Kaline Lands at Kimberly-Clark

As Director of Global Media, He Has Smaller Budget but Less Volatility in New Post

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Kimberly-Clark Corp. has landed a heavy hitter as its new director of global media, former Ford Motor Co. global media chief Mark Kaline.
Mark Kaline
Mark Kaline

A 30-year advertising and media veteran who spent more than 11 years running global media operations for Ford before he fell victim to the latest of several waves of downsizing, Mr. Kaline has been a fixture in advertising-industry groups, currently serving as chair of the television committee of the Association of National Advertisers, the Council for Research Excellence and the Traffic Audit Bureau. He also serves on Nielsen's Advertiser Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of the Audit Bureau of Circulations and the Media Ratings Council.

Mr. Kaline is son of former Detroit Tigers outfielder and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Al Kaline.

Reports to Tony Palmer
He begins work Oct. 20, reporting to K-C VP-Global Integrated Marketing Communications Clive Sirkin,* who reports to Global Marketing Officer Tony Palmer. The hire is the latest new position in a series of appointments, as Mr. Palmer has built out a global marketing team since becoming K-C's first CMO two years ago.

Mr. Kaline takes on a global advertising outlay that reached $468.3 million last year, according to Kimberly-Clark financial reports -- a far cry from Ford's $5.4 billion global outlay, but also without nearly as much volatility in a tumultuous economy and media market.

In an interview, Mr. Kaline acknowledged it will take him some time to come to grips with the starkly different, and in many ways more favorable, media realities facing a major global package-goods player in a major economic downturn, but he's happy to have the opportunity.

"It's no surprise that the auto industry has been undergoing a lot of cuts these days, and unfortunately I was one of those back in July," he said. "But actually I think it's turned out to be a great step forward. ... I see it as a terrific opportunity to join a talented team of individuals that Tony Palmer has assembled. He's really put some horsepower globally into the marketing organization for Kimberly-Clark."

At Ford, Mr. Kaline consolidated the company's media operations in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Mexico and established its Brand Entertainment Group, which led integrations into programming such as "American Idol" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." He also led early exclusive sponsorships with iVillage and Yahoo and initiated the first "upfront" keyword buy with automotive websites and major search engines.

"As we continue our mission of transforming K-C into a legendary marketer," Mr. Palmer said in a statement, "I am confident Mark will play a key role in fulfilling this."

Learning curve
Mr. Kaline acknowledged he faces a learning curve getting used to a new industry at a time when economic upheaval has changed basic economic underpinnings substantially in recent weeks -- potentially improving K-C's margins through a rapid decline in commodity costs while also opening lower-cost opportunities in many media as marketers in less stable industries flee for cover.

But there are at least some commonalities between the industries, he said, such as the mom market that's a key player in SUVs, minivans and diapers alike.

Though he brings considerably more experience in such areas as search, customer-relationship marketing and branded entertainment than many package-goods marketers have, Mr. Kaline said he's not coming with preconceived notions of how K-C's media mix should change, particularly as it's already been ahead of many in its industry in shaking up its mix.

"I think we're going to have a period of adjustment" because of the current economic turmoil, he said. "We have an incredible crossroads the industry is coming on that also includes the digital transition of television happening next February and other things all coming to a head."

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Mr. Kaline reported directly to Mr. Palmer, the global marketing officer.
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