The annual list highlights chief marketing officers who are shaping business, culture, society.
I f attracting attention is a sign of influence, then marketers are mavens of it.And yet, some do it better than the rest.
This year, chief marketing officers were tasked with much more than navigating their own companies out of the Covid-19 crisis: They assisted with vaccine marketing and distribution, addressed politics and other issues, including racism and climate change, and pushed for innovation ranging from e-commerce and new content platforms to adopting emerging technologies and complying with data privacy.
For the 2021 ranking of the World’s Most Influential CMOs, we looked at all of it.
This year’s ninth annual ranking—the fifth year in a row developed in partnership with primary research partner Sprinklr, along with additional data and analysis from LinkedIn—is based on 30 digital and social channels analyzed by Sprinklr and LinkedIn’s data science teams.
So what is influence? We define it as the impact a CMO’s actions and words have on their organization internally as well as externally in their industry and in the world more broadly.That of course includes corporate brand perception, but also marketing and advertising efforts, trends, financial performance and overall conversational and societal impact.
Our pool of candidates was drawn from more than 500 CMOs and brands from across a wide range of Forbes lists and external lists such as the World Federation of Advertisers and the Brand Finance Global 500.Candidates that were considered had to be active and in their role from at least January through May of 2021.
The top 10 honorees for 2021 are also more diverse: 6 are people of color or women.
Overall, this year’s list of CMOs includes 28 women and 22 men.
The 2021 ranking also has quite a few newcomers—or at least CMOs who weren’t on last year’s list.Of the 50 featured this year, 30 were not in the 2020 ranking.
Meanwhile, some of the newly ranked CMOs are also fairly new to their roles: 2021 honorees who became CMO at their respective companies since early 2020 include Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John, Facebook CMO Alex Schultz, SAP CMO Julia White, Walmart CMO William White, Salesforce CMO Sarah Frankin and Unilever Chief Digital & Marketing Officer Conny Braams.
For the very first time, our World’s Most Influential CMOs data analysis and ranking of 50 top chief marketers was informed with the assistance of artificial intelligence from the Sprinklr platform.
The scoring incorporated three AI-powered metrics that added qualitative indicators to our quantitative metrics by looking at customer sentiment, tone of news coverage and social media sentiment.
The 2021 World’s Most Influential CMOs list was informed with the assistance of artificial intelligence, while the brand performance metrics were based on more than 4.5 billion social media engagements.
The volume of data analyzed was massive and included measuring 15 variables between July 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021.Sprinklr measured brand performance using its Benchmarking platform—a part of its overarching Modern Research Product Suite—to aggregate more than 4.5 billion brand-related social media shares, likes, retweets and comments.Sprinklr’s Insights Listening platform also analyzed CMOs’ personal influence based on an aggregate of more than 490,000 news, blog, Web and Twitter mentions about or from eligible CMOs.
LinkedIn measured industry and internal influence by analyzing more than 6 million profile views and connections along with nearly 700,000 LinkedIn engagements.
The analysis points to how CMOs that are considered influential are cited and quoted far more frequently than others, illustrating the need to be present not just in stories about their brands, but also in broader conversations on a wide range of topics.
The dramatic differences between influential CMOs and other CMOs we analyzed underscores the way leading marketers use the media and social media to amplify their brand’s messages and their own personal influence.While the average volume of media and social media mentions for the top 50 CMOs was around 7,254 mentions across all sources, the average mentions for all CMOs considered for this year’s list was just 477.
Broken out by various sources, the top 50 CMOs had an average of 1,350 mentions across news, print, TV and radio media, whereas other CMOs had just 147.Twitter mentions were also a lot higher for ranked CMOs, with each having an average of 5,643 mentions compared to just 312 for the others.
A special thank-you for our lead research partner, Sprinklr—which once again created a special report to accompany the 2021 ranking—and also to LinkedIn for providing data and analysis.
Below, you’ll find a list of 50 of the top marketers, along with brief summaries a few of the things each has done in the past year.
Bozoma Saint John
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Netflix Many chief marketing officers have personal brands that are often attached to the company they work for.Bozoma Saint John’s brand goes far beyond Netflix, where she became CMO a little more than a year ago.
In her first year at the streaming giant, she’s led a wide range of creative campaigns including a stunt for the premier of the series Money Heist , in which the company cut off fans from the internet to prevent them from sharing spoilers.
Prior to joining the streaming service in June 2020, Saint John led marketing at Endeavor, Uber and Apple Music.In January, she taught a weeklong virtual class at Harvard Business School about the power of authenticity.Saint John has also been a leader on issues related to diversity and equality.Last summer, she worked with Glennon Doyle and dozens of other celebrities on a collaborative campaign called #sharethemicnow to amplify Black voices across a wide range of white women’s Instagram accounts.
Next year, she’ll publish The Urgent Life , a memoir about how losing her husband to cancer in 2013 had changed her outlook on life and the struggles that she faced along the way.
Title: Chief Brand Officer Company: WWE While she may be the only CMO with “professional wrestler” on her résumé, Stephanie McMahon is an influential marketer far beyond the WWE ring.Along with overseeing the creation of the bio-secure ThunderDome during the Covid-19 crisis, McMahon also helped drive fan engagement for live and streaming matches, navigated the return to in-person events in July and built one of the largest TikTok followings for a sports property.
McMahon has also led cross-company collaborations.To help Netflix promote its Army of the Dead show, WWE had zombies circle the ring and become part of the show.And earlier this month, the WWE partnered with Connor’s Cure and The V Foundation to raise money for fighting pediatric cancer.
She’s also helped the Ad Council with its vaccine marketing including PSAs for people to learn more about their options for getting vaccinated.
Title: Global head of marketing Company: Peloton Born and raised in Nigeria, Treseder is an experienced marketing executive who cut her teeth at Goldman Sachs, Apple and GE.She joined Peleton in August 2020 and quickly made a mark, launching a buzzy partnership with Beyoncé and an ad campaign that centered around customers’ stories .
In recent months, Treseder has had to navigate choppier waters as Peloton has recalled more than 125,000 treadmills following the death of a child.She’s vowing that the company is focused on its “North Star” and putting customers first.
For this past summer’s Olympics, Treseder and Peloton created a campaign focused on promoting community rather than products: “It’s You.That Makes Us.”
“The Olympics are not just about the people who perform—they play a huge role, too—but it’s about everybody else,” she told Forbes in July.
“The people who got them ready, the people cheering them on in the stands, the people watching on TV, the people who are celebrating this historic moment where the world comes together.”
Title: Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and President, Healthcare Business Company: MasterCard When MasterCard debuted its “True Name” credit card last year, allowing trans and nonbinary customers to display their chosen names on credit cards, the company had a hard time finding bank partners.However, Raja Rajamannar moved forward with the product, which has since become a massive success both for MasterCard and for inclusive efforts that extend far beyond the brand itself.
Rajamannar—who sits on the board of the World Federation of Advertisers and the Association of National Advertisers—has also been outspoken about the need to combat online hate speech and other issues facing internet platforms.
Rajamannar, who become MasterCard’s CMO in 2013, has a long track record of embracing new technologies while also looking for ways to incorporate purpose-driven efforts into the company’s marketing and other areas.Earlier this year, Rajamannar also wrote his first book, Quantum Marketing , which calls marketers to take on a new mindset that embraces new technologies while also more quickly adapting to modern consumers.
Title: Global Head of Marketing Company: TikTok As head of marketing at the hottest social network in the past few years, Nick Tran is in charge of helping TikTok grow its already rapidly growing user base while also helping the company built out its advertising business in a way that’s effective for businesses but relevant for finicky Gen Z fans.In May, TikTok ran a monthlong campaign celebrating small businesses, and earlier this month it debuted a new Creator Marketplace API that lets influencer marketers access first-party data.And earlier this month, TikTok annnounced it was now attracting more than 1 billion users a month—a major milestone for any social network.
Title: Global Chief Marketing Officer Company: McDonald’s Last month, Morgan Flatley was promoted to the role of global chief marketing officer after spending several years as chief marketing and digital customer experience officer for the fast food giant’s U.S.operations.Along with spending the past year helping McDonald’s better understand customers and using those insights to drive everything from marketing to business operations during the pandemic, she’s also landed major partnerships with some of the biggest names in music, including the rapper Travis Scott, Colombian singer J.Balvin and the South Korean pop band BTS.
Title: Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Company: Apple When Apple CMO Phil Schiller took on a new role last year, the company tapped Greg Joswiak—a longtime product marketing executive at the tech company—as its next marketing leader.Joswiak, who joined the company in 1986 to work with third-party developers, now oversees everything from flagship products like iPhones, iPads and MacBooks to newer content divisions such as Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade.
Title: Global President of Fiat Brand & Chief Marketing Officer Company: FCA Group While many brands stayed away from politics for their 2021 Super Bowl commercials, Olivier Francois sung to the middle of the aisle with Jeep.Instead of going with humor, the ad, starring Bruce Springsteen, took a somber approach just a month after the January 6 attacks on the U.S.
Capitol, with the music icon asking Americans to end their divisiveness.
Francois is also in charge of helping market the future of electric vehicles for brands like Fiat, which hopes to be all-electric by 2030.Beyond EVs, he’s also doing a lot with music in car marketing: In May, Stellantis partnered with Foo Fighters’ front man Dave Grohl for its Ram brand, and earlier this month Jeep even created its own custom guitar made from wood taken out of historic Detroit buildings.
Title: Senior Vice President, Marketing & Head of PlayStation Network Company: Sony Interactive In the year since Playstation released its much anticipated PlayStation 5, Eric Lempel has been tasked with marketing one of the most coveted consoles while also competing with rival Xbox, which just debuted a new gaming system of its own around the same time.
In addition to Sony’s new global ad campaign “Play Has No Limits” that recently turned a city into a chessboard for a TV spot—Lempel has led marketing for a variety of individual game titles including a Twitch campaign for No Man’s Sky .
Title: Chief Brand Officer Company: Procter & Gamble As chief marketer for one of the world’s largest advertisers, Marc Pritchard oversees P&G’s more than $10 billion in ad spend and is often a bellwether for the entire marketing industry on everything from issues around diversity and sustainability to measurement and brand safety to creativity.Pritchard, who joined the company nearly 40 years ago, is also chairman of the board for the Association of National Advertisers and current board member of the Ad Council.
In January during CES, P&G debuted a new platform through which people could meet virtually as avatars.A couple of months later, the company unveiled a new initiative to change the way Black people are portrayed in ads and hire more diverse talent behind the scenes.P&G has also established a variety of initiatives around sustainability both at the product level and the partner level.(It recently worked with the NFL on a campaign for Tide to get people to use less water while doing laundry.)
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Zoom Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, Zoom has evolved from being anodyne conference call software to a household name symbolizing much of remote-work life.Janine Pelosi, who joined the company as head of marketing in 2015, became CMO exactly a year before the pandemic began.Along with leading the company through its 2019 IPO, the former Cisco and WebEx marketing manager navigated Zoom’s rapid growth to around 505,000 customers with more than 10 employees and overseen a sales and marketing budget that’s gone from $280 million in the first half of 2020 to $516 million during the same period this year.
Earlier this month, Zoom launched a new ad campaign, a suite of new products for hybrid offices and a new $2 million Zoom Cares fund to “native, LGBTQ, and young people of color who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and systemic racism.”
Title: Executive Vice President, Chief Brand and Marketing Officer Company: Lowe’s Marisa Thalberg spent her first year at Lowe’s marketing DIY projects for homeowners, celebrating frontline workers and creating content for communities .
Under her brand guidance, Lowe’s also equipped American Idol contestants with ways to spruce up home stages and helped designers build more creative stages for New York Fashion Week.This year, Thalberg has orchestrated a “Hometrip” campaign for families that couldn’t go on spring break, a Valentine’s Day campaign for couples—including chances at a date night inside of various Lowe’s locations—and recently launched a new home-decor collection with interior design and fashion icon Iris Apfel.And as Lowe’s turned 100 this year, Thalberg—who was previously the chief brand officer of Taco Bell—led the creation of a new ad campaign directed by Roman Coppola and a “100 Hometowns” initiative that lets people nominate their city for a chance to win part of $10 million towards improving parks and other neighborhood renovations.
Title: Chief Product & Marketing Officer Company: LEGO Under Julia Goldin’s leadership, LEGO has focused on helping kids express themselves and build confidence.
In January, The LEGO Group announced a new partnership with Universal Music Group to help kids express creativity through a a new augmented reality-enabled app.In February, it partnered with creators to showcase the creativity of kids in a “Rebuild The World” campaign, and sought to teach digital empathy around #SaferInternetDay.For International Women’s Day, the company brought back its 1981 “What It Is Is Beautiful” campaign and joined the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles.Under Goldin’s leadership, Lego has also played a role in discussions about social issues.
Last summer, it pulled Facebook advertising to fight hate speech during the July 2020 boycott, pulled advertising for police-related toys, and donated $4 million to organizations supporting Black children.
For Earth Day this year, Lego’s “Green Instructions” initiative aimed to teach kids to be eco-friendly.And earlier this month, the Lego Foundation announced plans to donate $150 million to support children and communities around the world impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
While $70 million will go to UNICEF to help support vaccines and health supplies for vulnerable communities, the other $80 million will “enable the foundation’s many partners working with children to accelerate ongoing Covid-19 recovery.”
Title: Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Consumer Business Company: Microsoft Microsoft was named 2021 “Creative Marketer Of The Year” by Cannes Lions, and overseeing the brand is Chris Caposella—who joined the company decades ago as a speechwriter for Bill Gates before rising through the ranks to become CMO in 2014.In April, Microsoft debuted an Xbox campaign to combat global misogyny and promote female gamers, in June it released a wide range of Pride-themed products and in July a campaign for Microsoft Teams brought Olympics fans to Tokyo virtually.Along with leading marketing for everything from hardware and software to gaming and cloud services, Caposella has also been an advocate for the company’s sustainability efforts.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development Company: Adobe As CMO of Adobe, Ann Lewnes is responsible for marketing some of the most popular creative software tools in the world including Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects.Lewnes is also in charge of marketing Adobe’s flagship events like Adobe Summit and Adobe Max in their virtual format for the second year in a row.
This month, it created a new campaign for Adobe Max featuring stars from the hit sit-com The Office that offers attendees a chance to win custom out-of-office messages.Other 2021 Adobe campaigns have included a partnership with Netflix letting TikTok users submit unheard stories that Hollywood has missed with a chance at being featured on Netflix, and a collaboration with the rapper Young Thug for a jacket design challenge.
Ukonwa Kuzi-Orizu Ojo
Title: Global Chief Marketing Officer Company: Amazon Prime Video & Studios In her first year at Amazon, Ukonwa Kuzi-Orizu Ojo has led marketing for the company’s streaming and production companies during a time of rapid growth amid the ongoing streaming wars.
Along with promoting titles such as Borat 2 and The Tomorrow War, Ojo promoted Coming 2 America —a remake of the 1988 Eddie Murphy classic—with an expansive campaign ranging from a creative infomercial series to gold Prime Air plane to partnering with Black-owned businesses to a branded collection of makeup created in collaboration with celebrity stylist Zerina Akers.
In May, she helped oversee marketing around Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM that gave Amazon the rights to the James Bond brand.To promote this year’s debut of Without Remorse starring Michael B.
Jordan—the first Black actor to play Tom Clancy’s famous John Clark character—she helped orchestrate more than 100 drone deliveries to more than 100 veterans and military families in nearly a dozen countries to promote the global nature of the story.And this summer, a campaign for Cinderella staring Camilla Cabello included a collaboration with Mercedes-Benz.
Prior to joining Amazon in September 2020, Ojo was global CMO and SVP of M.A.C.Cosmetics and before that CMO of Covergirl following marketing roles at brands including Unilever and General Mills.
Title: Chief Marketing And Solutions Officer and Executive Board Member Company: SAP Before joining SAP and the company’s board earlier this year, Julia White spent two decades at Microsoft, where she most recently led producing for the company’s rapidly growing Azure cloud business.Since joining the software giant, White has supported companies on their sustainability, data and retail efforts while working with brands such as Allbirds to help support growth.She’s also helped lead efforts for SAP’s decision to let its more than 100,000 employees have a 100% flexible working policy during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.(A remote onboard herself, White has spoken with SAP staffers about the importance of creating a “flexible and trust-based workplace as the norm.”)
Title: Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Analytics Company: Facebook While Facebook’s previous chief marketing officer had a track record of CMO roles at various brands, Alex Schultz has risen through the ranks since the social network’s early days.
More than a decade since joining Facebook in 2007, Schultz became CMO and VP of analytics in September 2020 .
While Facebook itself is an influence machine, Schultz has his work cut out in terms of helping the company navigate issues ranging from brand perception and consumer safety to improving content moderation and data privacy to advertiser measurement.Along with spending the past few years working on improving Facebook’s community and working with the European Union on developing an independent code of conduct report, he also spent last year working on infrastructure projects related to public health issues and mitigating misinformation around Covid-19.
In Facebook’s first campaign under Schultz’s leadership, the company in February launched an ad narrated by Grace Jones and then for the Summer Games in Tokyo, created a series of TV spots starring several new Olympic sports .
In March, the company debuted a “Black History Written By” campaign to address how Black history shouldn’t only be celebrated in February.Schultz, who sponsors Facebook’s LGBTQ+ resource group, also worked on a Pride Month campaign in June that was featured across the company’s family of apps.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President Company: Frito-Lay One of the top CPG marketers, Rachel Ferdinando has led the $16 billion Pepsi-owned snack division since 2019.Leading star-studded Super Bowl ads in 2020 and 2021—including for Dorito’s starring Lil Nas X and and Cheetos starring MC Hammer , Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher—Ferdinando has led the usually light-hearted portfolio of brands both before and during the pandemic.Last year, she led Frito-Lay’s evolution into e-commerce and also debuted flavors and resurrect old products such as Dorito’s 3D Crunch.
Prior to joining Pepsi in 2017, she spent two years at Kimberly-Clark and before that 15 years at GSK running healthcare teams in the UK, U.S., and Asia.
Title: Board Member and Head of Sales Company: Daimler As a board member of Daimler AG since 2017, Britta Seeger leads marketing and sales for the company’s Mercedes-Benz division.Along with overseeing design, she’s led the company’s electric vehicle brand strategy.
Earlier this year, Seeger helped merge Mercedes-Benz’s marketing and communications teams under a new structure.She’s also spoken publicly about the company’s work around AI-based computer-brain interfaces that could help people interact with cars without the use of their hands.
Title: CMO Company: Walmart Although he became CMO of Walmart during the height of the pandemic in May 2020, William White has quickly become one of the most influential marketers in retail.A former marketing executive at Target and Coca-Cola, White has helped Walmart transform apps and e-commerce strategies along with rapidly driving adoption of curbside pickup.He’s also led partnerships with TikTok to experiment with live shoppable video and social commerce and built out a media and advertising division to compete with Amazon.In the past two years, White has also rolled out new campaigns for programs like Walmart+ to compete with Amazon Prime and also created experiential marketing for customers like drive-in movies and contactless trick-or-treating.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Salesforce Franklin began her career in science and technology—she holds a dual degree in chemical engineering and biochemistry and worked at Lockheed Martin right out of college—and witnessed firsthand the unequal numbers of women and people of color working in the field.It’s why, at Salesforce—where she’s worked since 2008—Franklin launched Trailhead, a gamified online learning tool that helps people gain technological skills and prepare for a career in STEM.In her spare time, Franklin is a runner who, in 2020, set a goal to run 2020 miles.She ultimately surpassed this, running 2,162 miles (the equivalent of a trip from Chicago to San Francisco).
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Activision Blizzard After overseeing marketing for before and during the Covid-19 pandemic for Restaurant Brands International chains like Burger King, Tim Horton’s and Popeyes, Fernando Machado joined Activision Blizzard earlier this year during a period of massive growth for the video games and esports.Known for his risky, creative and wildly popular campaigns like photographing moldy Whoppers to showcase food without preservatives and delivering sandwiches to people stuck in Mexico City traffic jams, Machado is now in charge of marketing a wide range of popular games including Call of Duty, World Of Warcraft and Candy Crush.
Since Machado joined Activision Blizzard this spring, he’s had a lower profile than at Burger King and RBI.And after successfully boosting burger, chicken and coffee brands, he’s inherited the issue of improving Activision Blizzard’s reputation while the company has rocked by lawsuits, threats of employee strikes, calls for consumer boycotts and sponsors to pull their advertising dollars.
Title: Senior Vice President Customer & Brand Company: BMW Since leading BMW’s logo change last year—the first update in more than two decades—Jens Thiemer has led the auto brand deeper into a range of new partnerships including sponsoring five esports teams , integrating two cars into Marvel’s Black Widow movie, developing a special-edition M4 with the streetwear brand Kith and expanding its support of Belgium’s national soccer team.
This year, BMW created a new campaign that used artificial intelligence to generate art onto its cars and made the decision to streamline agencies under a new division overseen by Thiemer.On top of that, the former Daimler exec also leads BMW’s marketing for its electric vehicles, which have gained traction, especially in Europe.
Title: Member of the Board of Management of Audi AG for Sales and Marketing Company: Audi Some 21 years after joining BMW AG as head of brand communication, Hildegard Wortmann ascended to member of the board of management for marketing and sales at Audi in July 2019.She’s since played a crucial role in the German automaker’s electric and autonomous vehicle strategy, this year revealing two of three new concept cars that, the company says, are representative of what Audi hopes to bring to market by 2033.“It’s the future of Audi,” Wortmann said at the virtual unveiling.“We are at the dawn of a new era of mobility.”
26.Detlev von Platen
Title: Board Member for Sales and Marketing Company: Porsche Detlev von Platen has served as Porsche AG’s member of the executive board for sales and marketing since 2015, though he’s been at the storied brand since 1997, when he joined as brand director at Sonauto SA.
Earlier this year, he oversaw the development of a new brand partnership with luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer, through which the two launched a new watch—the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph—featuring a face reminiscent of a sports car’s dashboard.
More recently, von Platen helped lead the opening of the eighth Porsche Experience Center: a more than 60,000-square-foot facility featuring attractions such as a vehicle showroom, handling circuit and restaurant.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Citi* Just two years after leaving PepsiCo for Citi where she’d take on the role of chief brand officer, Carla Hassan became its first-ever global chief marketing officer in September 2020.In her role, she brought under one umbrella the financial institution’s global marketing and branding organizations, while also overseeing marketing and sponsorships for consumer banking and institutional clients.After marketing the launch of new products such as Citi Custom Cash Cards, Hassan in July was poached by competitor JPMorgan Chase to become its new marketing chief in October.
* After the time frame for this year’s methodology, Hassan in July accepted a new role as CMO of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Title: Chief marketing and digital officer Company: Unilever Conny Braams joined Unilever as a marketing trainee in 1990 and never looked back.
Since becoming its first chief digital and marketing officer in January 2020, she’s been responsible for the consumer packaged goods giant’s digital transformation and marketing strategy.
Under her leadership, Unilever has sought to make its brand more inclusive, announcing this year that it would no longer use the word “normal” in advertising and packaging for its beauty and personal care products, and its Degree deodorant publishing a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times encouraging the fitness industry to be more inclusive of those living with disabilities.
Title: VP of Marketing Company: Kia After six years at Mazda, Russell Wager joined Kia as its head of marketing operations in 2019 before being promoted to vice president of marketing two years later.
At the helm, he’s been tasked with unifying and leading marketing, customer experience and public relations for the automaker in America.After starting the year by unveiling a new logo and slogan, Kia announced that, for the first time in 11 years, it wouldn’t be airing ads in Super Bowl LV, instead focusing on its “Accelerate The Good” campaign to support young Americans experiencing homelessness.This fall, Wager introduced its first all-electric vehicle, the 2022 EV6 Crossover, during the 73rd Emmy Awards, noting in a press release that “Kia America is embarking on an entirely new direction and the EV6 is just the beginning.”
Title: Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Company: Pfizer Pfizer achieved a whole new level of influence since quickly developing its highly effective Covid-19 vaccine last year.At the center of the brand has been Sally Susman.Along with marketing the vaccine, Susman—who’s led corporate affairs, communications and other operations since joining in 2007—led Pfizer’s first logo design in 70 years that was announced in January and worked on naming the company’s vaccine as Comirnaty.Prior to joining Pfizer, Susman previously spent seven years as EVP of Global Communications at Estee Lauder.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Ally Financial This year, Andrea Brimmer has led Ally to become the first official banking partner of the National Women’s Soccer League, and during the Olympics, it created a campaign around unsponsored athletes based on GoFundMe accounts for aspiring Olympians.
Ally as a company overall has also been pushing for equality through raising its minimum wage from $17 to $20 per hour, investing $30 million in Black founders, businesses and communities, and also donating to organizations like Women Who Code and Blacks In Technology.
Brimmer is also on the board of The Ad Council, a nonprofit that collaborates with marketing companies to create PSAs around Covid-19, climate change and other topics.And back in June, a creative agency turned Brimmer’s likeness into an NFT to raise money for the Humane Society of Michigan .
Title: Global Chief Marketing Officer Company: General Motors This past year, Deborah Wahl has led General Motor’s aggressive marketing for its fleet of electric vehicles during a pivotal year for the industry.Along with a logo rebrand, Consumer Electrics Campaign starring GM’s battery system, Super Bowl commercial starring Will Ferrell and a collaboration with Disney for Chevrolet, Wahl has sought to make EVs go mainstream.
In addition to marketing EVs, Wahl has also pushed for more inclusive marketing through diversifying media spending, addressing talent gaps and taking a more inclusive approach to casting.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Hyundai After a long career on the agency side (including running Hyundai’s advertising account at Innocean), Zepeda made the jump to the automaker’s in-house team in 2019.The company’s first female executive, Zepeda has helmed Hyundai’s “Question Everything” ad campaign, which has featured numerous celebrities including Mindy Kaling, Jason Bateman and Kawhi Leonard.
Title: Chief Marketing And Strategy Officer Company: Gannett As Gannett’s first chief marketing and strategy officer, Mayur Gupta has been tasked with creating revenue and content channels for the media conglomerate.Bringing together his experience with subscriptions from Freshly and Spotify along with his marketing tech knowledge from the CPG world via Kimberly-Clark, Gupta is now at the center of building a paywall for USA Today after hundreds of Gannett’s other newspapers already made the switch.
Title: EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Company: Verizon At the center of Diego Scotti’s 5G marketing strategy has been cross-brand partnerships.
Before signing a 10-year deal with the NFL to equip 25 stadiums with 5G technology, Scotti led Verizon’s deals with the NBA and NHL as well as a campaign with Apple to market the first 5G-enabled iPhone.) He’s also made roads on the B2B side of 5G via collaborations with Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.(Earlier this year for the Super Bowl , Scotti led efforts including a custom Fortnite collaboration.)
“When you look at Verizon under the hood, what is at the center of our success now is partnership, and partnerships in the sense of collaboration,” Scotti told Forbes in September.“I don’t think there’s any company in the country at the scale of ours that has leveraged partnerships and collaboration, not as a side business but as a core element of the strategy…We have taken an approach of partnerships as a platform.”
Title: Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Company: FedEx A 20-year FedEx veteran, Brie Carere has spent the past two years helping the shipping giant navigate both the overall demand influx for deliveries and increased competition with rivals like Amazon and UPS.Along with marketing, she’s also been tasked with overseeing FedEx’s e-commerce growth.
Earlier this month, FedEx announced a new integration with Salesforce that could help more than 100 retail brands more effectively deliver products and gather new data while also extending the “post-purchase journey.”
Carere and FedEx have also supported efforts for the Washington Red Skins to officially change its team name since last year after the death of George Floyd and the discussions around racism that followed.(FedEx holds naming rights to the stadium as one of the teams’ largest sponsors.) On a call with shareholders last year, she said the company evaluates marketing sponsorships “through our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.” During her tenure at FedEx, Carere—who became CMO in 2019—has led a number of internal diversity efforts including a community of Women In Leadership in Canada and also a similar leadership network in the U.S.
Title: Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer Company: Visa After spending more than 20 years of her career at American Express, Biggar joined Visa in 2016 to lead the company’s brand strategy and external communications .She cares about purpose in marketing, and as such has focused on themes like women’s empowerment, small business growth, and microenterprise support.Under her purview, Visa extended multi-year partnerships with FIFA, the NFL, the Olympics and Paraolympics.
In the 2020 Olympic Games, held this year, Visa sponsored 102 athletes across 28 sports and 54 countries.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Accenture* In her four years as Accenture’s chief of marketing and communications, Fuller led a marketing revolution at the IT provider .Chief among her achievements was leading a $90 million ad spend in 2020 (triple the company’s usual marketing budget) designed by the acclaimed New York ad studio Droga5, which was acquired by Accenture in 2019.
* After the time frame for this year’s methodology, Fuller retired from her role as CMO at the end of August.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Artsy At 31, Everette Taylor, one of the youngest chief marketing officers on this year’s list, was also featured on the Forbes 2021 CMO Next list in February.He launched his first startup at age 19, and has spent the past decade focused on the intersection of creativity, data and commerce.
Now, as CMO of the world’s largest online art marketplace, Taylor has lead marketing for Artsy during a year of had record-breaking sales while seeking to democratize the often inaccessible art market for new audiences and buyers.
Taylor has also integrated Artsy into a variety of ways that support economic empowerment and fight injustice.In February, Artsy ran an out-of-home ad campaign for Black History Month celebrating Black joy, and in June ran an OOH campaign supporting LGBTQ+ artists for Pride Month.Artsy also collaborated with UN Women—the United Nations brand focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment—to put on an art show and benefit auction spotlighting Black women artists around the world and hosted an auction benefiting Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based nonprofit that defends people who are on death row.
Title: Chief Customer Officer Company: TESCO A former Unilever executive, Bellini joined Tesco in 2017 just as the British supermarket giant was in the middle of its reinvention under CEO Dave Lewis.
Bellini has since led a number of initiatives, including efforts to reduce advertising to help bring down prices and rework the company’s loyalty program.
Title: Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Company: Booking.com Dijk made the move to Booking.com in 2019 after more than a decade with Google.The timing might not have been fortunate for an online travel agency—tourism has fallen off precipitously in the pandemic—but Dijk has responded by pivoting Booking.com’s marketing to emphasize domestic adventures and hidden gems.
Title: Global Chief Marketing Officer Company: Google A Google employee since 2003, Lorraine Twhohill leads marketing for the search engine giant—that’s arguably one of the most influential companies on its own—along with everything else including YouTube, a growing hardware business and the company’s various other software services, projects and platforms.As Google’s CMO, Twohill also at the helm of the brand during a time when it faces increased scrutiny from regulators over issues related to data privacy issues and antitrust.
Title: Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy, Growth and Data Officer Company: PayPal The former head of Singtel’s Group Digital Life, Auerbach came to PayPal in 2015 to help expand the payment processor’s global footprint.
True to his global expertise (Auerbach held numerous international positions over a 26-year career at McKinsey), in 2016 Auerbach led PayPal’s “New Money” campaign in Singapore and Asia Pacific.
Title: Group Marketing Director Company: Prada The eldest son of Prada majority owners Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, Lorenzo joined the family business in 2017, before going on to lead the company’s digital marketing and corporate social responsibility efforts the next year.Sustainability has been key to his marketing strategy, including resale and upcycle efforts.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Visible* During her three year tenure at Visible, Verizon’s direct-to-consumer wireless brand, Ormes developed a reputation as a disruptive marketer, launching bold TV ad spots, creative pop-ups at bus stops and a social media campaign that raised $250,000 for Covid relief.In August, Ormes moved to LinkedIn, where she’s serving as VP of marketing.
* After the time frame for this year’s methodology, Ormes left Visible in August for a new role at LinkedIn as VP of global brand and consumer marketing.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: General Mills* In his 20-year tenure at General Mills, Hiranaga led a successful effort to modernize the company’s 100-plus brands.When the coronavirus hit the US in March 2020, Hiranaga quickly pivoted messaging from holiday recipes to practical, home cooking advice, repurposed old advertisements in the absence of new shoots, and engaged with new avenues like esports.Hiranaga left GM earlier this year following corporate restructuring.
* After the time frame for this year’s methodology, Hiranaga in August left General Mills without announcing a new role.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer Company: Cadillac In her first two years as CMO of Cadillac , Grady Dias has demonstrated the power of agility in marketing the iconic auto brand.When the pandemic hit, she halted a new global marketing campaign to develop and swap in ads that assured consumers with new flexible financing options and message, “We have your back.” Her latest accomplishment is overseeing a successful marketing campaign for the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle that’s due to come out next year.
Reservations for the debut edition sold out in less than 20 minutes.
Title: Global Chief Marketing Officer Company: Dole Sunshine Company Desai has shown a remarkable flair for building a positive message around Dole’s values and social impact.One campaign focused on an innovative leather alternative made from pineapple leaves; Another showed two harried dads getting ready for a planned date night only to realize they forgot to call the sitter.He even teamed up to create an NFT (non-fungible token) collection with banana-eating artist David Datuna on a campaign to raise awareness about food insecurity and raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer & Head Of People Company: Twitter In some ways, Berland’s pinned tweet says it all, noting that “the brand isn’t us, it’s all of you.” As CMO and head of people at Twitter, Berland has the tough task of marketing a brand that is constantly reshaped by those who use it.Earlier this year, she embraced that fact by overseeing a brand refresh that brought more variety in terms of photos, fonts, movement and memes.And then there’s the tough part of the job, from purging Presidents and fake accounts to helping spread vital public health information on what’s becoming a leading news platform.
Title: Chief Marketing And Commercial Officer Company: Ferrari With its performance, style, design and technology, Ferrari might seem like a brand that almost sells itself.But Galliera has led the charge in finding new ways to translate that prestige for the ever-more demanding customers who line up to buy one of the roughly 10,000 cars produced each year.This year, the longtime chief marketing and commercial officer oversaw Ferrari’s move into new hybrid sports cars and high fashion.Next up is Ferrari’s first-ever SUV, named “Purosangue” or pure blood, which should assure brand aficionados that this is built less for carting groceries than for speed.