Troubled NFL Picks a Woman to Lead Marketing

Former PepsiCo Marketer Dawn Hudson Is the League's New CMO

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Dawn Hudson
Dawn Hudson Credit: The Parthenon Group

The National Football League, under fire from women's advocacy groups for the way it has handled the Ray Rice domestic-violence matter, has picked a female former PepsiCo marketer as its new chief marketing officer.

Dawn Hudson comes to the league directly from The Parthenon Group, a Boston-based strategic consulting firm, where she spent the past five years working in the food, beverage and restaurant sectors. Previously, she spent 11 years at PepsiCo, where she held several senior level positions, including CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America and other marketing-related jobs. She also has agency experience, holding jobs at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and DDB Worldwide.

Ms. Hudson replaces Mark Waller. Last month, the league announced Mr. Waller would be focusing on growing the NFL's international business. Ms. Hudson will report to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and begin next month. "We are looking forward to working with Dawn, whose experience as a leader and marketer will help further connect the NFL with fans," Mr. Goodell said in a statement.

"I am excited to join the NFL where I will be able to combine two of my passions – sports and marketing," Ms. Hudson said. "Sports have always played a big role in my life and in my career. While at Pepsi, I worked with numerous sports properties, including the NFL, and I also served as a LGPA board member."

The league has been boosting its female leadership ranks as it seeks to keep sponsors in the fold in the wake of the domestic violence controversy. Last week, the league said it retained the services of three female senior advisers to "help lead and shape the NFL's policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault." One of the women assisting the league is Lisa Friel, former head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney's Office.

Ms. Hudson's appointment marks the second time this year that a major sports league has picked a female to head marketing. In July, the National Basketball Association hired former State Farm marketing executive Pam El as its chief marketing officer.

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