BrewDog brings back CMO role as CEO promises to create ‘new type of business’

The brewer’s brand and marketing director has been promoted to CMO, with co-founder James Watt saying BrewDog is “committed” to developing its leaders as it looks to distance itself from claims it operated a “culture of fear”.

BrewDog shop

BrewDog has promoted its brand and marketing director, Lauren Carrol, to CMO.

It is the first time the Scottish brewer has had a CMO since the exit of Jon Evans, who left the business in January 2019 just three months after taking on the role. Shortly after his stint at BrewDog, Evans, who is now chief customer officer at ad effectiveness consultancy System1, told Marketing Week the brewer was not ready for a CMO at that time.

He said it quickly became “fairly obvious” it was “too early” in the brand’s evolution to have a CMO. He described BrewDog’s co-founder and CEO, James Watt, as the “engine behind the business”, adding “he is the ideas, and does things in the way that he does. We got on famously, we just agreed it was a bit early on in their lifestyle to have a CMO.”

However, Watt has now changed his mind, promoting Carrol to the reinstated role just 18 months after she took on the brand and marketing director position. She has been at BrewDog since 2018, working her way up from continuous improvement project manager for supply chain to group continuous improvement manager to special projects director, a role she held until June 2021.

At BrewDog we are committed to developing our own leaders and offering ample progression opportunities for our amazing team members.

James Watt, BrewDog

Prior to joining BrewDog she spent three years as an administrative officer for the Department for Work and Pensions, before working at manufacturing firm Stork for nearly six years, most recently as business improvement manager. A short stint at The Oil & Gas Technology Centre followed before she joined the brewer.

In a post on LinkedIn announcing Carrol’s promotion, Watt said: “Lauren has been outstanding in all the roles she has worked in across our business and contributed massively to everything we have done over the last few years. As our new CMO she has huge potential to positively impact our growth as well as play a very important role in our senior leadership team.”

Carrol’s first campaign for BrewDog after her promotion last year came as the business looked to distance itself from claims of a “toxic culture” following the ‘Punks with Purpose’ scandal. The ‘Beer For All’ campaign launched in August 2021 and looked to show consumers that people from all walks of life enjoy BrewDog.BrewDog’s former marketing boss: It wasn’t ready for a CMO

‘Committed’ to developing internal talent

BrewDog has also promoted Tom Reding to chief digital officer and James Brown to CEO of BrewDog Bars. Watt added: “Lauren, JB and Tom are all world class senior leaders who have developed brilliant careers for themselves as they have progressed through the ranks at BrewDog.”

He emphasised the importance of promoting from within and nurturing existing talent, as the business again looks to distance itself from the accusations it faced last year.

“Their progression is also testament to The BrewDog Salary Cap and our philosophy of developing the next generation of senior BrewDog leaders through our own teams as opposed hiring these leaders externally,” he said.

The BrewDog Salary Cap means salaries are capped at a maximum of 14 times the entry level position, increasing by one for each year of service. People joining the business can also not be paid more than seven times the level of an entry level position.

Watt added: “At BrewDog we are committed to developing our own leaders and offering ample progression opportunities for our amazing team members. This helps us build a new type of business, one that rejects the status quo and turns normal business assumptions on their head.”

BrewDog faced a fresh wave of criticism on launching its “anti-sponsor” campaign ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

Unite Hospitality, the union for workers in bars and restaurants, described BrewDog’s latest effort as “yet another disingenuous advertising campaign designed to distract customers from the fact BrewDog is one of the worst employers in the brewing industry when it comes to doing the right thing by its workers”.



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