WAL-MART NAMES NEW SENIOR MARKETING VP

Stephen Quinn Was Formerly Frito-Lay CMO

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Stephen Quinn, Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer, is leaving the PepsiCo unit to join Wal-Mart as senior vice president of marketing, according to executives close to the company.
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Mr. Quinn’s appointment, announced during a series of meetings at Wal-Mart headquarters yesterday but not yet made public, represents a departure from the typical pedigree of a Wal-Mart marketing executive. “He is the classically trained marketer Wal-Mart needs right now,” according to one former Wal-Mart marketing insider.

Strategy shakeup
In March, Bob Connolly, a career Wal-Mart insider, retired as CMO. He was replaced by John Fleming, a former marketing executive from Target Stores' department stores division who has shaken up Wal-Mart’s advertising strategy. He has toned down the everyday low prices message, an obsession with corporate reputation spots, and tried to appeal to more fashion-forward consumers.

“Wal-Mart’s eye has been off the customer and here comes this guy who is all about those mindshare wars with concept advertising. It’s fair to say this shows a bigger shift and the agencies are probably at risk,” according to the former insider. “He [Mr. Quinn] is someone who is used to hard-charging brand wars and Wal-Mart is in one right now with a stuck stock, lagging comp-sales and internal upheaval.”

Executive search firm Spencer Stuart handled the placement, but deferred questions to Frito-Lay, which also declined to comment. As CMO at Frito-Lay, Mr. Quinn oversaw a budget of $91 million in measured media spending in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Agency relationships
Mr. Quinn has worked with several Omnicom Group roster agencies, including BBDO Worldwide, New York, and GSD&M of Austin, Texas, which was selected in May to handle the $30 million relaunch of its Sun Chips brand. Notable is the GSD&M connection with Wal-Mart, which splits its advertising, media buying and creative duties with two agencies, GSD&M and Bernstein-Rein of Kansas City, Mo.

Mr. Quinn’s departure comes about a year after Irene Rosenfeld joined Frito Lay North America as chairman-CEO.

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