Wendy's Restructures Marketing Unit Amid Layoffs

Creates New Group to Better Align Operations and Advertising

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Amid a massive corporate layoff, Wendy's is once again restructuring its marketing group. The No. 3 burger chain said today it's making several changes in order to better align departments and incorporate operations into the marketing unit. Chief among them is combining three groups into a new team called the innovation and strategy group.
Wendy's, which announced the elimination of 375 jobs last week, has also reorganized its marketing group.
Wendy's, which announced the elimination of 375 jobs last week, has also reorganized its marketing group.

That group includes Lori Estrada, senior VP-research and development; Casey Minton, VP-strategic insights and innovation; and Mike Watson, senior VP-operations innovation, a new role. The group will be led by a senior strategist who will be named later.

A major shift
The inclusion of Mr. Watson, formerly senior VP-operations administration and strategic planning, is a major shift for Wendy's. "It's the first time we've had someone with Mike's operations background as an integral part of the marketing team," said Ian Rowden, exec VP-chief marketing officer.

Wendy's also merged the brand-management, media and diversity-marketing teams that earlier reported to Mr. Rowden into a team led by Bob Holtcamp, VP-brand management. Those who now directly report to Mr. Holtcamp include: Robyn Simburger, director-national and local media; Ana Hernandez, director-diversity marketing; and Matt Dee, director-advertising production. The move will "facilitate greater alignment between media, message and creative as the company executes marketing initiatives," the company said in a press release.

Mr. Holtcamp continues to report to Mr. Rowden, along with Bob Stowe, director-marketing operations and administration; Desmond Edwards, VP-field marketing, who joined the corporate team in January from director-marketing in Canada; Jeff Whitney, VP-emerging consumer markets; and Bob Bertini, formerly director-communications who becomes director-consumer communications.

Cutting jobs and costs
The moves come as the marketer last week began handing out pink slips to employees as part of a plan to trim up to 375 corporate and divisional jobs and $100 million in costs by the end of the year. More than 600 employees work in the Dublin, Ohio, headquarters. Already, about 175 full-time employees received early retirement offers and all but about 60 have reportedly accepted them. Several marketing staffers were among those leaving or already gone, according to executives close to Wendy's.

"The creation of an innovation and strategy group is something that Ian Rowden has had in mind for some time," Mr. Bertini said. "However, certainly with the layoffs at Wendy's, most departments, including marketing, are reorganizing to create the strongest teams possible going forward."
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