- Tony Weisman will step down as U.S. CMO of Dunkin' Brands, the owner of restaurant chains Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, on Dec. 1, according to a company announcement released Tuesday evening. The outgoing executive will assist in the replacement search, effective immediately.
- Weisman joined the company in 2017 and helped to spearhead Dunkin's rebrand. The initiative focused on modernizing restaurant locations with an eye toward mobile and digital ordering technology and dropping "Donuts" from the official brand name in recognition of the chain's more diverse menu offerings like coffee.
- A Dunkin' spokesperson told Marketing Dive that Weisman wants to "move on to new opportunities." In the press statement, the outgoing executive reinforced his brand loyalty as he moves on to new ventures. Also in the statement, U.S. President of Dunkin' Brands Dave Hoffmann praised Weisman's contributions to Dunkin's rebranding effort and realignment of agency partners. Dunkin' named BBDO Worldwide creative agency of record last April after two decades of working with Hill Holliday.
Weisman splitting from Dunkin' adds to a deluge of CMO turnover that has hit the restaurant category and beyond this year. The chief marketer position is notoriously short-tenured compared to other C-suite roles, but the number of high-profile marketers who have stepped down or seen their roles eliminated entirely in the past few months is noteworthy. A need to master technology and data — often on shorter timelines and with smaller budgets than in the past — are some of the top pressures marketers grapple with today.
But even amid a period of remarkable CMO volatility, Weisman's leaving could stand out from the pack. There is his long history with the brand to consider: Before joining Dunkin' as CMO, he led the brand's account for six years on the agency side at Publicis' DigitasLBi. As recently as last month, the executive was proudly espousing Dunkin's rebrand and successful marketing innovations, including at the ANA's widely attended Masters of Marketing conference.
The CMO recently tweeted praise for an article by CNBC advertising reporter Megan Graham that details the trends driving high chief marketer turnover at large companies. He is one of the most prominent sources in the story, strongly emphasizing that a holistic brand experience and technology strategy are must-haves for modern marketers.
Notably, some of Weisman's projects have appeared to be a boon for business. The executive helped Dunkin' reintroduce espresso, an undertaking Hoffmann lauded in the press release. The menu offering saw a 40% year-on-year sales lift in Q2 earnings reported in August, according to Food Business News. Dunkin' Brands beat both U.S. same-store sales and profit expectations for the quarter, though it missed on revenue.
Along with redesigning restaurants to spotlight mobile and digital tech, Weisman's stint at Dunkin' has been defined by unusual, attention-grabbing partnerships. The company recently teamed with Peeps, athletic footwear maker Saucony and craft brewery Harpoon on co-branded products and campaigns.
Other restaurant marketer departures of late include Taco Bell's Global Chief Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg in August and McDonald's Global CMO Silvia Lagnado, who stepped down this month after announcing plans to leave in July. Unlike Dunkin', neither of those companies is actively seeking a replacement. Instead, each will split marketing duties between two SVPs.