- Citi promoted Chief Brand Officer Carla Hassan to chief marketing officer as it looks to streamline its marketing and branding operations, according to a company announcement.
- Hassan will oversee a new unit that combines Citi's marketing and branding organizations, per an emailed statement, while continuing to lead the branding and sponsorship initiatives she handled in her prior role.
- Citi joins other large companies that are attempting to unify aspects of their marketing, a trend that has in some cases led to the resurgence of leadership positions like the CMO.
Citi bringing its marketing and branding functions together under one umbrella and one leader follows a path other companies have pursued as they look to blend performance-led strategies with more traditional brand-building ones. In a press statement, Citi called out a desire to develop a single, consistent voice across its franchise, along with reinforcing long-term customer loyalty.
In no longer keeping marketing and branding separate, Citi is also potentially looking to cut down on costs and improve efficiencies. Such belt-tightening measures have received a new imperative for many businesses due to economic pressures stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Hassan replaces Jennifer Breithaupt, who has resigned as marketing chief of Citi's global consumer bank after three years in the post, per Ad Age.
Elevating Hassan, who was poached from Toys R Us in 2018, arrives amid broader leadership changes at Citi. The company on Thursday announced that longtime CEO Michael Corbat will retire, to be succeeded by Jane Fraser. Fraser's appointment as chief executive, which commences in February, marks the first time a woman has led a major U.S. bank, according to CNN.
While the CMO position remains highly volatile, with a shorter average tenure than other C-suite executives, several large marketers have placed renewed emphasis on the role. Last December, Coca-Cola brought back a global CMO appointment it retired, seemingly for good, in 2017. The resurrected job, given to company vet Manolo Arroyo, looks to more closely align the beverage giant's marketing and operational divisions. Similarly, McDonald's in June named a new global CMO, Alistair Macrow, after the spot remained vacant for nearly a year.
The Citi news follows several recent CMO changeups. Facebook marketing chief Antonio Lucio will step down on Sept. 18, and the social media giant is actively seeking a replacement. Last month, Rita Patel was put in charge of marketing at Buffalo Wild Wings, succeeding Seth Freeman, who left suddenly in June. And earlier in the summer, Goldman Sachs tapped AT&T chief brand officer Fiona Carter as its first-ever CMO.