- McDonald's Global CMO Silvia Lagnado is leaving the company, which will not name a new global CMO, according to a report from Ad Age. Lagnado has been with the company since 2015 and will depart in October.
- A message announcing the departure was sent to McDonald's employees on Monday by CEO Steve Easterbrook, per the report. Lagnado's tenure included creating a universal visual identity for McDonald's 35,000 restaurants and delving into understanding customers through data.
- Two newly created marketing positions will be filled by current employees in the wake of Lagnado's departure. Colin Mitchell will be SVP of global marketing, and Bob Rupczynski will take on the role of SVP of marketing technology.
McDonald's creation of two new positions — one for marketing and one for marketing tech — indicates the growing role of tech and data in marketing departments. The news comes as McDonald's doubles down on tech. In April, for instance, McDonald's bought personalization firm Dynamic Yield, a first for a fast food chain, and it invested $3.7 million in mobile app developer Plexure.
As quick-serve restaurants (QSRs) attempt to sharpen their differentiations and drive sales among tech-savvy younger consumers, personalized menus and remote ordering are obvious goals. Similarly, McDonald's is offering to help its franchise stores remodel with self-order kiosks, automated delivery systems and extra drive-thru lanes — all of which also generate significant amounts of customer data.
A similar adoption of technology and customer data for marketing and tailored customer experiences is happening at other QSRs, including Burger King, Shake Shack, Wendy's, and Yum Brands.
The CMO role historically was focused on branding, PR and ads. However, the role has evolved in the face of the growing availability of customer data and the smart technology to use it for targeting, personalization and attribution. Like in the McDonald's example, this evolution can result in the elimination of the CMO role altogether as responsibilities expand. In a similar move by a major brand, Coca-Cola replaced its CMO with a chief growth officer and a chief innovation officer in 2017.
CMOs, in general, are facing significant pressures. In late 2016, research firm Forrester Research predicted that at least 30% of CMOs would be moved out of their roles in 2017 for not having the blended set of skills to handle transformation, personalization and growth. CMOs, on average, stay in their position only about 43 months.