Coca-Cola's CMO retires as role is eliminated in restructuring
- Coca-Cola's Global CMO Marcos de Quinto is leaving the soft drink giant as its new CEO revamps the marketing structure per a company press release.
- The changes involve consolidating marketing, customer and commercial leadership strategy into one combined function that will report to the top. The newly combined function will report to James Quincey, the current COO who will take over as CEO on May 1 as part of a succession plan announced last year. Under the new structure Coke will no longer have a Global CMO for the first time since 1993. The closest job title will become Chief Growth Officer to be held by Francisco Crespo.
- As part of the restructuring, Coca-Cola has also appointed a chief innovation officer, elevating research and development into a standalone innovation function reporting to the CEO. Information technology will also now report directly to the CEO in recognition of the importance of digitization as a growth enabler for the business.
Coca-Cola's restructuring is a recognition by the company that it needs to better respond to the quickly changing needs of consumers, customers, systems and associates if it wants to drive growth at a time when consumers' beverage preferences are evolving away from soda at the same time that the ways in which brands reach consumers via marketing and commerce strategies are also changing.
De Quinto's departure is another indication that the role of marketing is evolving within large brands, frequently calling into question the contribution of CMOs. Last year, Forrester forecast that at least 30% of CMOs would be canned this year because they do not have the skills required to digitally transform the business. The report also pointed to the need for CMOs and CIOs to better collaborate internally to deliver data-driven customer insights and the expectation that marketing would be restructured to better integrate the customer experience.
De Quinto led the “Taste the Feeling” campaign which was described as a “one brand” approach and global effort to unite the Coke brands at its launch in January 2016. Part of that marketing strategy was to drive revenue rather than volume growth.
In December of last year, de Quinto strongly supported TV as an advertising channel stating it is better than digital for ROI, although he backed up the claim with data from 2014. At the same time he said Coke was “very seriously trying to transform our company to make it a digital company,” but that didn’t mean just moving ad dollars to social media.