Year in Review: CMOs to Watch

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Credit: Illustration by Tam Nguyen/Ad Age

Chief marketing officers are busily trying to grow their brands and keep their jobs. CMO tenure is notoriously shorter, with the average time in the role at leading U.S. consumer brand companies falling to 42 months, according to Spencer Stuart's findings. Here are six who have their work cut out for them in 2018:

Brandon Rhoten, CMO, Papa John's

With the chain's executives blaming NFL player protests for weak sales—and neo-Nazis thinking that was spot on—the newcomer and the new creative agency he chose, Laundry Service, have full plates.

Bozoma Saint John, chief brand officer, Uber

Saint John has the seemingly impossible task of convincing consumers Uber is a brand they should feel safe using—and comfortable admitting
to using.

Greg Lyons, CMO, PepsiCo North American Beverages

PepsiCo has been trying to find new ways to market carbonated soft drinks, and some, well, haven't worked (Kendall Jenner, anyone?). Now Lyons, who got the CMO post in February and also oversees marketing for tea, water and other drinks, must show what the brand can do.

Kumar Galhotra, group VP, Lincoln; CMO, Ford Motor Co.

Galhotra, promoted to CMO in October, is tasked with improving brand communications on the digital front at Ford, which is in the thick of innovations like driverless cars. He's also likely to help Ford evaluate its WPP relationship, which is under scrutiny.

Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase

Last year, she initiated an audit of Chase's shops in a quest for transparency. This year, Lemkau took on brand safety. What industry challenge will Lemkau be dealing with in 2018?

Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer, Procter & Gamble Co.

It's "put up or shut up" time as Pritchard's deadline for digital media players to get third-party verification or lose P&G media dollars arrives Dec. 31. Pritchard also now faces a new board member in activist Nelson Peltz, whom Pritchard and P&G unsuccessfully fought off.

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