Ms. Saunders, who takes the newly created post of brand and advertising executive, is known for her ingenious approach to brand-building. She made her mark at Starbucks by focusing on grass-roots efforts such as serving coffee at PTA meetings or sponsoring beach cleanups.
At her most creative
"I can be my most creative when I have constraints," Ms. Saunders, the coffee chain's senior VP-global brand strategy and marketing, told attendees of Advertising Age/Creativity's Idea Conference in New York last November. "When I have a lack of time or money, that causes me to think differently."
The Seattle-based coffee chain spends less than 2% of its operating budget on advertising.
At Bank of America, Ms. Saunders will be responsible for overall brand management, advertising, sponsorships, enterprise research and agency engagement. She will report to Anne Finucane, BofA's chief marketing officer.
"It is all about integration," said a BofA spokesman.
Bank of America last year spent $230 million in measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligenee, and intends to increase that amount this year.
Starts June 1
Ms. Saunders, who starts her job June 1, will be based in Charlotte, N.C. Prior to Starbucks, which she joined in August 2001 as VP-interactive, Ms. Saunders was president-CEO of E-Society, a business-to-business e-commerce company. She also worked at McCaw Communications, which eventually became AT&T Wireless.
Like her new boss Ms. Finucane, Ms. Saunders spent the early years of her career working in the agency world. Past employers include now-defunct Bozell & Jacobs, Ted Bates and Earle Palmer Brown, as well as Young & Rubicam.
"Since joining Starbucks in 2001, she has played a key role in growing our marketing capabilities, launching the Starbucks Card and helping to grow our global brand. We thank Anne for her many and significant contributions over the years. The search for her replacement is under way," a Starbucks spokeswoman said.