Jerri DeVard Resigns From Verizon

High-Profile Marketing Exec Chose to Leave Rather Than Endure Grueling Commute

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Jerri DeVard, a fixture on the industry circuit and one of the highest-profile African-American females in marketing, is resigning as senior VP-brand management and marketing communications at Verizon Communications.
Jerri DeVard was senior VP-brand management and marketing communications at Verizon Communications.
Jerri DeVard was senior VP-brand management and marketing communications at Verizon Communications.

Ms. DeVard, 48, an Advertising Age Power Player in 2003 and a Wall Street Journal Woman to Watch, served on numerous advertising-industry committees and was a noted speaker at the Association of National Advertisers Annual Conference. She said she decided to leave as a result of a grueling commute from her Manhattan residence to Verizon headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J. "I did try for one year," she said. "It was too much."

Time to 'pause and collect'
Ms. DeVard plans to leave Verizon at the end of the month. She said she needs time to "pause and collect" before she decides what to do next.

Ms. DeVard said she tendered her resignation prior to the promotion late last year of Verizon Wireless Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton to the new post of CMO, Verizon Communications. Ms. DeVard reported to Bob Ingalls, exec VP-CMO for Verizon Telecom.

Verizon Wireless and parent Verizon Communications have maintained separate marketing organizations and efforts. However, as Verizon moves toward providing bundled services to match those offered by cable companies and pushes its FiOS video and internet offering, some of those marketing efforts are bound to be merged.

Long career
Prior to joining Verizon, Ms. DeVard was CMO at Citigroup. Her long career has included marketing positions with the Minnesota Vikings, Revlon, Pillsbury and Harrah's Entertainment.

At Verizon, one of her most recent efforts was the "Realize" campaign, a contest in which a consumer, in this case a graphic artist, conducted her business in a Philadelphia storefront using phone and internet service to show how Verizon could help facilitate the American dream of starting a business.

Over the years, she has spoken on a number of topics, including the changing relationship between marketers and consumers in terms of technology. In a speech in October 2005 at the Association of National Advertisers Annual Conference, Ms. DeVard underscored the multitasking abilities of today's 18- to 24-year-olds, saying they manage more than four platforms simultaneously.
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