29 CMOs to Keeping an Eye On
Steve’s breakdown: If I were to pick one of these clients to approach, it would be tinder.
Harris Beber, chief marketing officer, Waze
As the Google-owned navigation app seeks to rebound from pandemic declines, it’s looking to Beber, whom it hired in April, to help it reach new audiences, engage with users, and expand its partnerships. To that end, Beber launched Waze’s partnership and sponsorship with the Tour de France as its official traffic manager, aiming to make it easier for locals and spectators to navigate traffic during the event. Beber, a veteran of Amazon and Nature’s Bounty, most recently was the CMO of Vimeo, which he helped take public in 2021.
Massimo Baratto, chief consumer officer, Under Armour
As part of a management shakeup last fall, Barrato moved from managing director of Under Armour’s overseas businesses to this newly created marketing position responsible for marketing as well as e-commerce and retail. It’s part of a seismic shift at the struggling athletic-apparel brand, which is overhauling its business to focus more on direct-to-consumer and less on traditional retail channels. A hypebeast-style product drop this month offered a glimpse of the new strategy: Under Armour’s Curry 4 FloTro shoe, which the Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry wore through the NBA Finals, will be sold exclusively through a branded website.
Roisin Branch, chief marketing officer, Blade
Launched in 2014 by the media vet Rob Wiesenthal, Blade, based in New York, is best known as a Hamptons helicopter shuttle for rich New Yorkers. But to grow as a public company, it needs to become much more than that. The helicopter-ride-sharing brand will look to its new marketer, Branch, a SoulCycle and AB InBev vet, to help it gain acceptance in new markets like India. As cities clamp down on noisy helicopters, it’s also betting long-term on electric-vehicle aircrafts, or EVAs, to provide affordable, quiet, and emission-free travel.
Nick Chavez, chief marketing officer, KFC US
Chavez’s appointment last December after more than 10 years with Nintendo is another example of how marketers have looked to gaming to ensure they stay relevant with young consumers. He’s behind the fast-food chain’s introduction of novelty finger sporks and a collab with the rapper Jack Harlow. Chavez’s marketing savvy helped the Nintendo Switch maintain dominance among consoles in the US, and KFC will look for him to create standout moments to fuel the company’s growth.
Frank Cooper III, chief marketing officer, Visa
As CMO, Cooper can leverage Visa’s stated mission of being a world leader in digital payments by removing barriers for people to connect to the global economy, like introducing payment options for electric-car drivers. Cooper most recently held the marketing-chief role at BlackRock, following stints at BuzzFeed and PepsiCo. He’s known for working at companies undergoing disruption, something that will come into play at Visa, which he joined in May, as the finance industry seeks new and innovative ways to interact with consumers.
Geoff Cottrill, chief marketing officer, Topgolf
Cottrill joined Topgolf as its global CMO last August as the golf-driving-range game took off with avid and novice golfers. Topgolf has become a popular destination for company outings; last month, Mike McCarthy, the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, canceled practice to take his team on an excursion there. Look for the former Coca-Cola marketer to build on Topgolf’s efforts to transform golf from a stuffy, white-male-dominated sport into entertainment for younger, more diverse players.
Stephanie Danzi, senior vice president, global head of marketing, Tinder
As pandemic restrictions ease, dating apps have sought to capitalize on the return of in-person dating and attract users. They’re also adapting to a rise in people using dating apps to make platonic connections. The answer for Match Group’s Tinder was Explore, a section featuring events and ways to find people by interests that Danzi helped promote, resulting in a notable lift in signups and buzz. The first-time CMO previously led the launches of the dating apps Stir and Ship for Match Group. At Tinder, Danzi has developed other creative ways for people to connect, like Swipe Night 2, Festival Mode, and Blind Date, to ensure the app’s continued relevance with Gen Z.
Cindy Gustafson, chief marketing officer, Bark
Gustafson joined Bark, the direct-to-consumer canine-toy company that’s pushing its branded products into conventional retail channels, in May. The pandemic-pet boom gave Bark a leg up last year, and Gustafson, a seasoned marketer who’s had roles at WW International, Nike, American Express, and others, will be charged with maintaining that momentum, in part by growing Bark’s food business. “We are now in position to become the preeminent dog company of the 21st century,” Bark’s CEO, Matt Meeker, said on an earnings call in May.
Krystal Hauserman, global head of marketing, Evil Geniuses
One of the oldest esports organizations, Evil Geniuses is ready for a face-lift. Since joining in October, Hauserman has been transforming the company as a values-driven entertainment outfit. That means welcoming LGBTQ and other gamers to an industry that has a poor record on inclusiveness. Early successes include landing big advertisers like Hewlett Packard Enterprise and partnerships such as one with LG Electronics and Black Girls Code for a livestream gaming battle with the R&B duo Chloe x Halle.
Tariq Hassan, chief marketing and customer experience officer, McDonald’s US
Hassan joined McDonald’s last September to help the Golden Arches deliver on its digital-growth plan, which includes increasing in-app purchases, building out its loyalty programs, and ensuring a uniform experience for in-person and digital customers. The latest manifestation: A new summer “Camp McDonald’s” campaign featuring deals, menu hacks, virtual concerts with Kid Cudi and the like aimed at tying the chain to pop culture. Industry vet Hassan most recently was the CMO of Petco, where his work repositioning the company from a pet-supply retailer to a pet-health-and-wellness brand is credited with helping its successful IPO in 2021.
Remi Kent, chief marketing officer, Progressive Insurance
Progressive had a big role to fill when its chief marketer of 11 years, Jeff Charney, who was behind its in-house agency, Ninety6, and its mascots Flo, Jamie, and Dr. Rick, retired in 2021. It found his successor in Kent, a seasoned marketer who gained recognition for helping 3M spread the word about how to use masks and respirators during the pandemic. Her challenge: Using the insurance giant’s $2 billion-some ad budget to keep pace in the cutthroat insurance business, where it takes on the likes of Geico and State Farm.
Karina Kogan, chief marketing officer, Oura Health
Kogan helped stoke the global Peloton craze as the brand’s global marketing chief. Since jumping ship last October, she’s been aiming to engineer something similar around Oura. As demand grows for connected fitness and wearable tech, Kogan’s keeping Oura at the forefront with a special-edition Gucci x Oura ring and third-generation Oura ring with features like an Explore tab and blood-oxygen sensing. The wellness-tracking ring was already a celebrity must-have and pop-culture signifier; a plot line in “And Just Like That…” revolved around wearing one.
Marian Lee, CMO, Netflix
Lee has had an impressive marketing career that includes top roles at companies like Condé Nast, J. Crew, and Spotify, where she oversaw music artist marketing and all industry partnerships. She joined Netflix as vice president of its North America marketing business last year, and after six months she took over for Bozoma Saint John. It’ll fall to Lee to help keep Netflix a top choice for streaming-TV consumers as competition ramps up from newer rivals like NBCUniversal’s Peacock and HBO Max and as the platform readies an ad-supported tier.
Meredith Madden, chief marketing and category officer, Chobani
In her decade at Chobani, Madden’s ascended from director of category management to her current role overseeing all marketing communications. Her purview includes Chobani’s internal creative agency, one of the packaged-goods industry’s big success stories for its experiential marketing and all-in use of platforms like TikTok and Roblox. Now, with yogurt sales overall slowing, Madden’s setting her sights on expanding Chobani into new areas after moving into coffee, creamer, and oat milk — a task that could be complicated now that the company’s delayed its much-anticipated IPO.
Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer, General Mills
Martin shapes people’s experience with General Mills’ vast portfolio of brands like Cheerios, Pillsbury, and Nature Valley. He most recently was president of the North America dairy operating unit that includes the Yoplait and Liberté brands and continues to oversee its startup incubator, GWorks, and venture offering, 301 Inc — experience that’ll be key to helping the legacy consumer-packaged-goods company push into new areas. With his promotion in January, his long list of responsibilities includes keeping General Mills’ brands top of mind for consumers as they increasingly buy groceries online and boosting investment in minority and female entrepreneurs.
Drayton Martin, vice president of brand building, Panera Bread
“Mother Bread,” watch your back. Martin, who as brand chief pushed Dunkin to drop “Donuts,” is giving Panera a new look, relegating its familiar feminine logo to bread products only. A brand refresh is next, with overhauled packaging, spiffy uniforms, and renovated interiors. Martin’s even commissioned advertising from the edgy agency Mother and a new “sonic logo,” AdAge reported. “Crave is really important, it’s part of the visceral impulse we want to evoke,” she told the site.
Ginny McCormick, chief marketing officer, Zappos
Until McCormick joined in April from Amazon, the footwear giant Zappos never had a CMO. On McCormick’s plate now: Building a centralized marketing operation from the ground up at a company whose teams had been spread across categories and divisions. Famous for customer service, Zappos faces a much more crowded and competitive landscape these days; McCormick has said she’ll focus on expanding brand partnerships and explore storytelling beyond branded content. Fun fact: McCormick’s first boss was Reebok CEO Paul Fireman, who hired her out of college.
Marcel Marcondes, global chief marketing officer, AB InBev
Marcondes, who was tapped to become the global CMO in May, is a veteran Anheuser-Busch InBev marketer, having served as US CMO from 2017 to 2021. He most recently helmed Beyond Beer, AB InBev’s fast-growing portfolio of non-beer products like hard seltzers — the division grew sales by 20% last year under him — an indication of where AB InBev sees its future growth. Marcondes now oversees a massive portfolio as AB InBev brings on new ad agencies to handle its global media buying, searches for an agency to revive underperforming Bud Light, and overhauls management. But as Marcondes recently told Insider, the beer category tends to be resilient: “When people have a hard time to afford more expensive and bigger things, beer becomes even more important as the affordable luxury.”
Katie Nauman, chief marketing officer, Petco
Nauman, who was promoted to CMO from vice president of integrated marketing last August when Tariq Hassan left for McDonald’s, has continued positioning Petco as a health-and-wellness company, an effort that gained steam during the pandemic. Nauman has added a return-to-office angle with a campaign to help pet owners deal with pets’ separation anxiety; the aim is to target younger customers who are conscious of their pets’ overall well-being. Nauman joined Petco in 2020 from HP, where she headed global marketing for its Z line of computers and monitors.
Linh Peters, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Walgreens
Peters joined Walgreens as its CMO in May to help support the pharmacy chain’s push into healthcare and expansion of its retail-media network. A seasoned marketer, she’ll also bring her background in building out loyalty programs including Starbucks’ to the role. Such programs, with their customer data, are key to a strong retail-media network. Peters most recently was the global CMO for Calvin Klein, where she helped scale its digital and physical businesses.
Andy Rebhun, CMO, El Pollo Loco
The new CMO for El Pollo Loco, a Mexican-style chain based in Los Angeles, is off to a strong start. This year he oversaw the creation and launch of its Mexican shredded beef birria, said to be the most successful limited-time item in the company’s 40-year history. He promoted the rollout using TikTok, where he also launched the chain’s original content series “Abuela Approved,” hitting record channel engagement. This first-time CMO also moved fast early in the pandemic, introducing curbside pickup and helping triple its off-premise delivery and e-commerce business.
Shiv Singh, chief marketing and customer experience officer, LendingTree
Financing is in high demand with inflation and mortgage rates soaring, but fintechs don’t have the best record when it comes to consumer trust. Enter Singh, whose long résumé includes turning around brands like Visa and Expedia. In his first few months, Singh tapped the funny and approachable Molly Shannon to be its first celebrity spokesperson in LendingTree’s first big campaign in three years. He’s also revamped the website with personalized features designed to make it easier for people to make complex financial decisions.
Karin Timpone, executive vice president, chief marketing officer, MLB
Timpone joined MLB in August with a big challenge: bring young fans to a league whose audience has trended older. Timpone knows a thing or two about customer loyalty and digital, having scaled up Marriott International’s loyalty program and been early to introduce live streaming content to mobile devices while at Disney. Her efforts for MLB have included spotlighting player stories using social channels — look for her to tap influencer fans to help tell baseball’s story next.
Benjamin Trinh, chief marketing officer, Poparazzi
Poparazzi, the “anti-selfie” social-media app, hired Trinh, its first CMO, in January. Poparazzi has soared in popularity with Gen Z, even toppling TikTok as No. 1 in the App Store when it launched last May — and Trinh, a first-time chief marketer, has kept that momentum going. He was known for cultivating celebrity partnerships at previous marketing gigs with Postmates and Uber. For Poparazzi’s first anniversary, he organized an exclusive yacht party for top influencers like Jules LeBlanc and Skai Jackson, where the company announced that app downloads had hit 5 million.
Sean Tresvant, global chief brand officer, Taco Bell
Tresvant says his role is to “fuel the cult of Taco Bell.” If that sounds hyperbolic, keep in mind Tresvant spent 15 years at Nike, most recently as the CMO of the cultlike Jordan brand. He’s already shaking things up at his new employer. In May, the company launched a series of drag brunches, hosted by the aptly named queen Kay Sedia. Taco Bell employees got graffiti-inspired “uniforms” by the LA collective Born x Raised in March. And Taco Bell launched membership and merchandise packages to mark its 60th year. In a brutally competitive quick-service segment, Tresvant clearly relishes a fun food fight.
Debbie Woloshin, chief marketing officer, Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix is trying to transition from a curated-clothing subscription service to a conventional online retailer. With that in mind, the company filled its CMO seat — which had been vacant for two years — with Woloshin, a fashion insider who previously led marketing at Marc Jacobs, the footwear brand Frye, Ann Inc., and the Jones Group. Woloshin, who started in May, joined at a challenging time for Stitch Fix, which laid off 15% of its salaried staff in June amid declining revenue and client numbers. Along with e-commerce, it’s focusing on more precise search personalization to drive growth.
Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer, senior vice president of member engagement operations, Cityblock Health
Zahumensky, KFC US’s former CMO, joined the billion-dollar startup Cityblock Health as its first chief marketer in October. A spinoff of Google’s Sidewalk Labs, the health-tech business focuses on lower-income consumers. Since marginalized populations can be tough to reach through traditional marketing, Zahumensky’s role will involve community partnerships and using mobile tech to engage members. Her challenge is formidable; Cityblock Health, which has 70,000 members, aims to serve 10 million people within a decade.
Robin Zucker, chief marketing officer, Codecademy
Zucker is Codecademy’s first CMO, a role she took on full time last November. Codecademy, a startup that offers paid and free coding classes, grew its revenue by 31% last year as the Great Resignation led people to explore careers in coding. Zucker, a former Yahoo and Playboy marketer, had been Codecademy’s interim CMO since last March and launched its first ad campaign that positioned coding as a way for people to seek greater control of their work lives. Look for her to continue establishing Codecademy in an increasingly competitive edtech industry.