The role of marketing at the Coca-Cola is being redefined. A staff reorganization under soon-to-be-CEO James Quincey has resulted in the departure of Global CMO Marcos de Quinto, a title that will no longer exist at the company.
De Quinto led a significant overhaul of marketing for the iconic flagship Coke brand, which has seens gradual sales declines along with carbonated soft drinks in general. De Quinto ended the brand’s long-running “Open Happiness” campaign in early 2016 and brought in “Taste the Feeling” as part of a broad strategic overhaul, pivoting into a more product-based approach which focused on bottles of Coke instead of on the touchy-feely messaging that long had distinguished the brand.
He also led Coke into a “one-brand” approach that promoted varieties such as Diet Coke and Coke Zero with more cohesive branding, and sometimes in the same ad.
Coca-Cola’s announcement regarding the new leadership structure said that the 58-year-old de Quinto “has chosen to retire from the company,” adding that “he will leave behind a strong legacy as he has been responsible for a resurgence in the quality of Coca-Cola advertising.”
The new leadership structure paves the way for Quincey, the current chief operating officer who is replacing the retiring CEO, Muhtar Kent, on May 1.
In lieu of a CMO, Coca-Cola is creating a “chief growth officer” role that will consolidate marketing, customer and commercial leadership strategy into one combined function under Francisco Crespo, a 28-year company veteran who currently serves as president of Coke’s Mexico business unit.
He “is uniquely qualified for this role,” the company said, because he “successfully led the expansion of Coca-Cola’s total beverage portfolio in each of the key Latin America markets where he has worked.”
The new structure left no room for a global CMO for the first time since the role was created in 1993, according to Ad Age.
Among other C-Suite changes announced this week, Coca-Cola also named its first chief innovation officer (Robert Long, currently Vice President, Research and Development) to “elevate global research and development into a standalone innovation function reporting directly to the CEO.”
“We are moving quickly to structure our organization for faster growth and to ensure we can respond to the fast-changing needs of our consumers, customers, system and associates around the world,” Quincey stated. “Each of the leaders named today is highly capable and understands our clear mandate for change.”