Coca-Cola brings back the global CMO role

Coca-Cola is scrapping the chief growth officer title it introduced in 2017 and going back to having a global CMO, albeit one that is now also in charge of operations.

coca-colaCoca-Cola is bringing back the global CMO role having got rid of it in favour of a chief growth officer (CGO) in 2017.

The move has been prompted by CGO Francisco Crespo’s decision to retire. As chief growth officer, he had oversight of integrated global marketing, corporate strategy, and customer and commercial operations. However, the company says with its “growth strategy firmly in place” it is restructuring.

“Over the past several years, we’ve worked hard to create headroom for our brands to grow. We created the frameworks and disciplines to capture it, and our results demonstrate our progress,” says Crespo. “I feel confident that this great company that I love is set for sustained and long-term growth.”

Coca-Cola’s last CMO was Marcos de Quinto, who held the position for more than two years. When he retired, the company made the decision to create the CGO role, which added corporate strategy, customer and commercial to the CMO role.

Those duties will now be split.

Integrated global marketing, which includes creative, category, marketing operations, design, and knowledge and insights, will report into new CMO Manolo Arroyo. He will also keep his role as president of Asia Pacific.

Corporate strategy will report into CFO John Murphy, while customer and commercial operations will fall under chief operating officer Brian Smith’s remit.

The restructure means marketing and operations will come under the remit of the CMO for the first time. The changes will take effect from 1 January 2020.

“We know consumer needs are changing faster and faster, and it is critical for the company to be agile in how it responds and adapts,” explains Quincey.

“Manolo’s dual leadership over operations and marketing is a new structure for us, and we anticipate that it will evolve in the months ahead. Manolo’s focus will range from developing work that can be used around the globe to supporting local campaigns.”

Coca-Cola’s decision to get rid of the CMO role prompted many other firms to follow suit. Both Mars and Kimberley-Clark have since appointed chief growth officers, while others have hired chief customer officers, for example, to reflect the broadening role of the CMO.

Coca-Cola and the rise of the chief growth officer

Crespo will remain with the business until the end of June 2020, serving as a senior strategic advisor and reporting into Quincey.

“Francisco has played a critical role in the success of our company in recent years, especially in helping develop a growth strategy that has become thoroughly embedded in our operations and our culture,” says Quincey. “He leaves an important legacy of helping make us more focused on fast-changing consumer needs at a critical time.”

New CMO Arroyo joined Coca-Cola in 1995 in brand management in Spain before moving to the US in 1998 to put together its first global water strategy. He has since served in a number of marketing and operations roles, starting his current position in Asia Pacific in 2019.