Coca-Cola loses another top marketing exec

Dive Brief:

  • Coca-Cola's SVP of strategic marketing and head of media operations in North America Ivan Pollard is leaving the company immediately, according to report in Ad Age. Pollard had been with Coke for six years, and no replacement has been named.
  • Campaign reported that Pollard was pivotal in reinventing the brand's media buying model and boosting its capabilities around digital and social media. 
  • Stuart Kronauge, who recently assumed double duty as both Coke's unit president of USA operations and SVP of marketing, said the company will announce a new reporting structure for its strategic marketing operations in North America sometime in the coming weeks, per AdAge. 

Dive Insight:

Coke's marketing arm has been undergoing significant structural changes since March, when it was announced Global CMO Marcos de Quinto was leaving the company, also with no replacement. The closest role fulfilling de Quinto's duties is Coke's chief growth officer, a position currently held by Francisco Crespo.

Coke's continued retooling of its marketing business points to the heavy headwinds big-name marketers are facing, ranging from the challenges of digital transformation to growing consumer cynicism toward brand advertising. The latest executive change comes just weeks after an announcement that Coke would cut 1,200 jobs worldwide to create what CEO James Quincey called a "leaner corporate organization."

The March shake-up was a precursor to that plan, with Coke consolidating its marketing, customer and commercial leadership into a combined function reporting to Quincey. Other changes at the time included appointing a chief innovation officer, turning research and development into a standalone innovation function, also reporting to Quincey, along with having the brand's information technology division work more directly with the CEO. The final move was cited as a recognition of the importance of digitization as a growth enabler for Coke.

Coke has often been positioned as a strong brand in the digital space but it's also retooled its strategy with the channel of late. Its digital loyalty program is set for a comprehensive overhaul starting in July, and Coke plans to announce new digital engagement platforms throughout the year. 

Filed Under: Trends Corporate News Mobile
Top image credit: Coca-Cola