Change Gauge: 20 Big Marketing Moves From the First Half

Best Marketing Talent Is Coming From Unlikely Place -- Outside Their Categories

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More and more, companies are looking beyond their industries in the hunt for marketers with diverse experiences.

A proliferation of consumer information, product choices and distribution options are dramatically increasing marketing complexity. Companies are being forced to balance limited resources against a multitude of potential marketing strategies and customer segments.

In short, all eyes are on the chief marketing officer. And there is a strong demand for talent that is not only world class but brings new skills to the table.

In retail, new purchase channels demand a new generation of marketers. Retailers now look to their chief marketers as thought leaders who can successfully blend and leverage a variety of critical competencies, including digital strategy, social CRM implementation, traditional advertising, in-store promotions, e-commerce, agency management and data analytics.

In the first quarter, retailers looked to agencies and other consumer segments for marketing leadership. For example, Target hired CMO Jeffrey Jones from indie shop McKinney, while Guess named Hub TV alum Amber Tarshis senior VP-marketing.

Technology and entertainment companies are also selecting marketers with varied backgrounds.

Microsoft recruited Thom Gruhler from McCann Worldgroup to lead marketing for Windows phone devices. Dish Network appointed a former Procter & Gamble leader, James Moorhead, as CMO. Mr. Moorhead is known in ad circles for his work on the Old Spice "Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign.

Facebook hired Rebecca Van Dyck, who most recently served as global CMO at Levi's. Ms. Van Dyck also spent time in the agency world working on brands like Apple and Nike .

And Sundance Channel brought Monica Bloom onboard as its senior VP-marketing. Ms. Bloom had most recently been responsible for brand strategy and development at Red, the charitable organization focused on eliminating AIDS.

Finally, continued focus on improving the consumer experience across the hospitality and restaurant businesses is driving an influx of outside marketers.

Wendy's made 20-year P&G veteran Craig Bahner its CMO. And, InterContinental Hotels named Larry Light to the role of global chief brands officer. Mr. Light, author of "Six Rules for Brand Revitalization," served as McDonald's CMO from 2002 to 2005 and has been a consultant at Arcature, a brand-management firm.

Already the spring has been a busy season, with half a dozen major moves at marketers ranging from Best Buy to Research in Motion in just the last few weeks.

So, who's next? Here are a few open CMO roles worth keeping an eye on.

  • Old Navy: Vacant since June
  • Kmart: Vacant since October
  • Sears: Vacant since January
  • Avon: Vacant since January
  • Levi's: Vacant since February
  • RadioShack: Vacant since March
  • The Hub TV: Vacant since March

    CMO change gauge
    Alan Cork helps clients find consumer- and customer-focused leaders in a variety of industries. He is a member of the Russell Reynolds Associates consumer products and services, leisure and hospitality, and marketing officers practices. He is based in Minneapolis. Andrew Hayes recruits chief marketing and chief customer officers, as well as general managers, presidents and CEOs for consumer products and leisure and hospitality companies. He is also a member of the Russell Reynolds Associates CEO board-services practice. He is based in Houston.

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