Academy to coach a new generation of market leaders

The industry’s big names have put their weight behind a scheme to collectively solve the problem of succession planning by developing the 25 best young marketers

A scheme, launching on Thursday (18 February), aims to solve for the marketing discipline what seems to have become a chronic problem for UK plc as a whole – succession planning.

A new Marketing Academy, run by a UK charity called Marketing Hall of Legends, aims to take 25 of the brightest and best young marketers every year, and equip them to become senior industry leaders of tomorrow.

’Scholars’, as they will be known, will receive 12 months of world-class mentoring, development and coaching from more than 50 CEOs, CMOs and marketing directors of brands and agencies as well as luminaries within academia and trade bodies.

Marketers giving their time for free include Mark Lund, COI chief executive, Wendy Becker, group CMO at Vodafone, Joe Clift, brand & customer marketing director at Lloyds Banking Group, Martin Glenn, CEO of Birds Eye Iglo Group and Andy Fennell, CMO at Diageo.

Agency figures include Andrew McGuinness, CEO of Beattie McGuinness Bungay, Cilla Snowball, chairman of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Moray MacLennan, worldwide CEO of M&C Saatchi.

The problem these heavyweights in the business world seek to crack has been under the spotlight again in recent times. ITV’s search for a chief executive and chairman might have ended with the hirings of Adam Crozier and Archie Norman respectively but for a long while it was a brutal process to watch.

Marks & Spencer too, with its eventual, expensive appointment of Morrisons boss Marc Bolland as its CEO, seemed to highlight the lack of groomed internal candidates.

Sherilyn Shackell, the brains and energy behind the Marketing Hall of Legends, has spent the past 18 months persuading the great and good that succession planning is not a problem to be addressed on a company-by-company basis, but as a general problem, better solved as a collective.

Boot camp

Each scholar will have one-on-one access to 12 mentors over the year as well as a dedicated professional coach to support them throughout the course. The curriculum will kick off with a marketing “boot camp” – an initial week of intense refresher training in a number of marketing disciplines.

The rest of the year will see scholars visit “faculties” provided by the likes of Google, Fallon, i-level and Weber Shandwick. The academy, sponsored by O2, Cadbury, Google and Marketing Week, will also see scholars invited to intimate “lunch and learn” sessions with leaders of major companies, including Carolyn McCall of the Guardian Media Group and Gavin Patterson of BT Retail.

Unprecedented access

Phil Rumbol, marketing director of Cadbury and a mentor and trustee of the new academy, describes the notion of leadership within marketing as “critical” and says the Academy programme is “vital to ensure the continued success of British companies”.

O2’s UK marketing director Sally Cowdry, a board member and mentor of the scheme, agrees. “Growing the skills and capability of our marketing people is a key priority at O2,” she says. “The Academy provides an unprecedented level of access to some of the UK’s biggest brands, as well as a variety of experience which will be critical to developing rounded individuals that will bring a huge amount of value to their organisations.”

Employers should nominate their young talent before March 15th according to the criteria set out on the Academy website. See for more details.

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