Former AT&T Marketer Wendy Clark Lands at Coke

Will Lead Integrated-Marketing Division

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Wendy Clark, who last month left her role as senior VP-advertising at AT&T, is set to join Coca-Cola Co. as head of integrated marketing communications and capabilities, reporting to Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer Joseph Tripodi, the beverage giant announced internally today.
Wendy Clark
Wendy Clark

Ms. Clark succeeds Mark Greatrex, who is handing over the title to focus on his duties as senior VP-still beverages at Coke, a role he took on at the start of 2008.

In her new position -- effective Sept. 15 -- Ms. Clark will be charged with "continuing to build and deliver marketing capabilities across brands, geographies and customers, including the use of traditional and new marketing channels to help transform our thinking to true integrated marketing communications," Mr. Tripodi said in the memo to employees. "She will lead our global work in creative excellence, design, interactive marketing, marketing capabilities, marketing productivity, media, retail and licensing, and worldwide sports and entertainment."

... And cost cutting?
It's likely she also will be tasked with helping Coke slash costs to the tune of $500 million in the next three years, much of that related to marketing.

"It's a big umbrella of departments and responsibilities, everything from digital to sponsorships to creative excellence, so I think we'll just let her get onboard and take it from there," said Kelly Brooks, group director-marketing communications for Coke. Ms. Clark could not be immediately reached for comment.

Widely considered one of the most powerful marketing executives in the country, Ms. Clark is credited with the rebranding of AT&T and with helping the telecommunications giant navigate a slew of complex acquisitions in recent years. She serves as a board member of the Association of National Advertisers, is an inductee to the American Advertising Federation's Advertising Hall of Achievement and was named one of Ad Age's Women to Watch last year.

Leaving AT&T
Her departure from AT&T -- the country's second-largest national advertiser -- was earlier said to result from AT&T's decision to relocate to Dallas from San Antonio. But Ms. Clark, her husband and three children are expected to relocate to Coke's Atlanta headquarters within the month.

Representatives for AT&T, which is in the midst of a search for Ms. Clark's successor, said in a statement: "We appreciate Wendy Clark's leadership during a period when the company significantly expanded its operations and successfully launched the new AT&T brand. We wish her all the best in her decision to pursue other interests."

Ms. Clark is "one of the smartest people in the business," said a marketing veteran close to her. He lauded her full-service-marketing background and pointed to her ability to manage the massive AT&T and Cingular rebranding as a sign she'll be adept at wrangling Coke's myriad global brands.

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Contributing: Abbey Klaassen
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