ConAgra Names Former Sears Marketer as CMO

Joan Chow to Oversee Ad Budget Set to Increase

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NEW YORK ( -- A month after shedding its top marketer, ConAgra Foods CEO Gary Rodkin has hired former Sears, Roebuck & Co. Chief Marketing Officer Joan Chow for the same role at the food marketer.
Joan Chow
Joan Chow

Ms. Chow, 46, left Sears in early January after a 19-month stint in which she sought to help the ailing retailer with its own turnaround, to no avail. Before joining Sears in 1998, Ms. Chow had previously worked for Information Resources Inc. as well as Johnson & Johnson.

Roster of disparate brands
ConAgra has struggled to find a top marketing executive who will successfully build its roster of disparate brands into leaders. The latest, Jacqueline Heslop McCook, who was hired last March as exec VP-chief growth officer for ConAgra, parted ways with the marketer in mid-January.

ConAgra spent $144 million in measured media in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence, and $80 million for the fist nine months of this year.

"ConAgra has been saying it's going to increase marketing but they haven't. [Ms. Chow] has her work cut out for her," said Neuberger Berman analyst Bill Leach.
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