- Female marketers are increasingly getting a seat in the C-suite, with 48% of CMO appointments going to women in the first two quarters of 2019, an all-time high, according to a new report from Russell Reynolds. The highest this number had ever been previously was when 47% of women were hired as new CMOs in the second half of 2016.
- Financial services and industrial and natural resources companies had the highest rate of hiring women for CMO roles compared to other industries. Female CMO appointments accounted for 56% and 55%, respectively, of each industry's hiring patterns.
- Overall, more than 200 senior marketing job changes were tallied by Russell Reynolds in the first half of 2019, 12% higher than the same period a year ago and the highest total recorded by the company.
Women are making gains in the C-suite, with the report going so far as to say that "gender parity is almost here." However, these developments come at a time of high turnover rates for marketing leadership across segments but is most evident in consumer business segments, per Russell Reynolds. Consumer products and services accounted for 19% of marketing leadership turnover during the first half of 2019 — up from 12% for the previous six months, giving this segment the largest increase. The largest decrease in turnover happened in leisure and hospitality, with 9% of turnovers versus 12% in the previous six month period.
While the report highlights wins for female CMOs, it is not certain that this growth will persist given the high turnover rate for marketing leaders. Several high profile female marketing executives have left their posts in recent months, such as Taco Bell's global chief brand officer Marisa Thalberg, who departed the chain after a four-year stint that resulted in a number of marketing wins. McDonald's Global CMO Silvia Lagnado also recently left and her work was handed over to two male SVPs.
The report also highlights some of the challenges marketers face in moving up the ladder as the skills needed to be a good marketer evolve, often in way that doesn't prepare these employees for leadership roles. The overwhelming majority of CMOs are being hired from outside of the firm, with 81% of CMO appointments in the first half of the year the result of external hires. The report attributed this succession situation to the fact that many VPs of marketing often specialize in different elements such as CRM or data and analytics, resulting in these employees lacking the big picture perspective required of CMOs.