Innocent scraps CMO title as role ‘evolves’

Kirsty Hunter has been chief marketing officer at the brand since 2020, and will now step into the new role of director, marketing and innovation as the business enters “a new phase of growth”.

Source: AgeUK/Innocent Drinks

Innocent is scrapping the chief marketing officer job title as its top marketer takes on the position of director for marketing and innovation as part of an “evolution” of the role.

Kirsty Hunter has been CMO at the smoothie and juice brand since 2020. In her “evolved” position she will be responsible for the “end-to-end marketing process”, which is designed to give her “greater scope to shape the marketing strategy across all regions”, a spokesperson for the brand says.

She will continue to serve on the company’s board.

In January, Marketing Week columnist and Mini MBA founder Mark Ritson argued that changing marketers’ title from CMO distracts from the job at hand.

“Look across at the parallel world of finance. If anyone even tried to start a conversation about whether ‘chief finance officer’ was the right title, they would be immediately ejected from the 43rd-floor executive office via the nearest window,” he said.

Are we witnessing the end of the CMO? No, and stop asking

He added that changes to the title and the debate that follows “gets in the way of the more important questions. Are you in charge? Do you know what you are doing?”.

The Coca-Cola Company, which has owned Innocent for over a decade, temporarily scrapped the CMO role back in 2017, replacing it with chief growth officer. It created waves in the marketing sector when it did so, but when the incumbent retired in 2019, he was replaced by current top marketer Manuel Arroyo, who holds the title of global chief marketing officer.

The change to Hunter’s job comes amid a raft of other senior moves at Innocent, following the departure of the brand’s chief operating officer and UK managing director in quick succession recently.

Alongside the change to Hunter’s role, Innocent has appointed four other new directors. Nicolas Marotte, who is currently managing director of the French business, will take on the role of director of go-to-market, while Tobias Ekpfadt, a finance VP from Innocent parent company Coca-Cola, will become director of finance and strategy.

Entering ‘new growth phase’

In their new roles, Innocent’s board will be tasked with helping achieve the brand’s “next phase of growth”. The business reports it delivered 1.2 billion portions of fruit and vegetables in 2023, and by 2030 it aims to deliver 1 billion more per year. Meaning it is effectively aiming to almost double its output in just over five years.

The 2030 business strategy will “see the company refocus on its founding purpose: making it easier for people to live well through the delicious goodness of fruit and veg”, Innocent says.

Tropicana on ‘getting back’ to its leadership role in a declining category

It will do this by zoning in on developing areas of success, such as functional products, as well as focusing in on its core.

Juice, one of Innocent’s key categories alongside smoothies, has been in significant decline in recent years. According to figures from Nielsen IQ, volumes of juice sold in 2023 declined 7.4% from the year prior, to 520 million litres.

Volumes have been consistently declining since 2021 and have dropped significantly from around a decade ago. Over 750 million litres of juice was sold in 2012, meaning volumes have declined by over 30% in the intervening decade.