New CMO Hires: Q1 2021

January 25, 2021

There are hundreds of C-suite shakeups every day across industries. It can be easy to miss these moves — and the awesome opportunities that come with them. In particular, a new CMO often signals large-scale sweeping changes within an organization. Rebranding! New website! Request for proposal!


Download 25 Brands with New CMOs – Q1 2021 list


First-time CMOs and new hires are the top trigger for agency changes, media spending shifts, and new martech investments. New hires evaluate these areas and begin making adjustments within a 3-12 month window. In fact, a Winmo study shows that on average, a new AOR is typically named 6-18 months after the CMO is hired.

From a prospecting perspective and with such a short turnaround, it’s crucial to stay up to date on any new hires or promotions, and have pitches prepared in order to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Our latest list, 25 Brands with New CMOs: Q1 2021, provides the names, titles, contact information, and previous job information for marketing executives who have taken on a new role in the last few months. Below, we’ve highlighted even more information from four of these newbies. Keep reading to discover seller, agency, and martech opportunities and uncover a deeper knowledge of what’s going on behind-the-scenes at these big brands (then, download the full list).

1)  Alicia Waters: CMO, Crate & Barrel

In October, the retail chain promoted Alicia Waters to the role of CMO. She most recently served as Crate & Barrel’s marketing VP after joining its CB2 brand as a marketing director in 2012. Her promotion leads to shifts in the company’s advertising strategy and is her first CMO role, replacing incumbent Suzy Cirulis.

Due to the pandemic, Crate & Barrel now promotes its eCommerce platform more than retail locations.

Per Pathmatics, Crate & Barrel generated 1.4b digital impressions in 2020 via Instagram (30%), desktop display (28%), Facebook (22%), desktop video (18%), and mobile display (3%) ads. This increased focus on paid social proves the company’s traditional “momvertising” target demographic currently skews toward Gen-Z and millennials. To reach this audience, it may also invest in OTT advertising.

  • Agency and martech readers: While CMOs who are promoted don’t always conduct agency reviews as often as those who are outside hires do, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to reach out to remain top-of-mind. YARD was awarded Crate & Barrel’s full-service remit around the summer of 2019.

2)  Phil Cook: CMO, WNBA

In December 2020, the WNBA’s leadership team welcomed the brand’s first CMO, Phil Cook. Previously the senior brand director of Nike’s concepts and consumer go-to-market, Cook created commercial and branding opportunities for Nike Basketball and drove the evolution of the company’s dedication to the Female Basketball Athlete.

The WNBA is preparing for its historic 25th season, which will likely experience significant advertising spend.

Cook will spearhead the development of innovative marketing campaigns and brand messaging across platforms, connecting and engaging with fans and influencers. Additionally, he will assist with the execution of a growth strategy to drive the brand as a bold, progressive entertainment and media group focused on diversity, equity, social justice, and the power of women.

  • Agency and martech readers: Reach out soon to secure potential brand-specific work for the WNBA. Winmo states the brand has an in-house media and Translation has assisted with creative duties in the past.

3)  Roxy Young: CMO, Reddit

Reddit promoted marketing VP Roxy Young to CMO in November 2020. Young has been with Reddit for the last three years and served as marketing VP of Hipmunk prior to that. According to Pathmatics, Reddit earned 139m impressions through desktop display ads (56%), mobile display ads (25%), Instagram ads (15%), Twitter ads (2%), and Facebook ads (2%).

  • Sellers: Reddit mainly targets Gen-Z and millennials with a male skew through digital display ads. It ramped spend up considerably over the last year, indicating the channel is providing a positive ROI. Therefore, it will probably stick with digital ads for now. There shouldn’t be any drastic changes under Young’s leadership, considering she has been with Reddit for several years. Sellers should reach out offering digital ad space soon to secure these extra ad dollars.
  • Agency and martech readers: Reddit picked up creative and media AOR R/GA earlier this year, so it is probably stable for now. Try offering digital and social media assistance instead. Agencies on the west coast near Reddit’s San Francisco HQ may have more success.

4)  Suzy Deering: CMO, Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company tapped Suzy Deering, the former global CMO of eBay, as its global CMO to drive marketing modernization, deliver brand strategy, and create best practices. Specifically, she will use data and technology to develop advanced customer experience. Deering replaces Joy Falotico, who vacated the CMO role in October to focus instead on Ford’s Lincoln brand.

This appointment signals that Ford’s other leaders want to continue bolstering its tech to compete more with companies such as Tesla, Uber, and Lyft. It’s also a bit odd considering companies in the auto industry tend to hire top marketing leaders from within and considering Deering lacks significant automotive experience.

Ford dropped ad spend in 2020 because of how hard the global pandemic hit the automotive industry. The company’s focus on desktop display, paid social, OTT, and podcast ads signal its historically male target demographic skews heavily toward Gen-Z and millennials.

  • Agency and martech readers: CMO hires especially lead to agency reviews when they follow CEO appointments of leaders with marketing expertise such as Ford’s recent CEO promotion, so reach out soon to remain top-of-mind. BBDO Worldwide and Wieden + Kennedy split Ford’s creative duties.

Download 25 Brands with New CMOs – Q1 2021 list

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If you liked this blog post, check out:

  1. Emerging Industries Report: Q1 2021
  2. Shortened CMO Tenures & Why Sales Should Be Watching
  3. List of Agencies in the Omnicom Network

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