How CMOs Can Get on Boards, or Even Become CEOs

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Executives at the Businesshala’s CMO Network Summit say that marketers’ diverse, practical skills, as well as their ability to read changing social currents, make them particularly valuable to the board of directors.

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“I firmly believe that there has never been a better time to deploy CMOs to board roles,” she said.

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Those interested are advised to participate in board-preparation events, and make more appearances before their own boards. But they should spend as much time networking with directors as possible to understand how recruiting works and what it takes, Parsons said.

“We often say that finding a job is a full-time job in itself,” she said. “A board seat is no different. It requires time and networking.”

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Key marketers also need to show that they are respected in their own industry, especially by other CMOs, said Lynn Bigger, executive vice president and global chief marketing officer for Visa Inc.

“It doesn’t mean winning a lot of awards,” she said. “That means, do you show up as someone who is trying to improve the practice? Are you contributing to industry panels and trade groups? Do you have that legacy of service, do you? Can you think broader than your current role?”

The deliberate speed of the recruitment process is indicative of the commitment expected after board members have joined; Some companies are looking for minimum terms of 10 years.

So marketers should make sure the board they join is the right one for them, said Jerry Deward, founder of the Black Executive CMO Alliance, a former chief customer officer at Office Depot Inc. and a board member at Under Armour. Inc.

He said the instinct is to jump at the first opportunity, but officers need to be selective before making such a commitment.

“Someone can call you, but the question is will you call them?” Ms. Deward said. “You really have to think about this as a marriage.”

shooting for the top

Chief marketing officers are also well positioned to hold the top position of chief executive — provided they understand that the marketing role is to make the company more money.

This is according to Kristin Lemkau, who was promoted from CMO of JPMorgan Chase & Company to Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Wealth Management in 2019.

Not many marketers make the leap to CEO, but Ms. Lemkau said she expects more – just from doing her job well.

As CMO, Ms. Lemkau said, she increased the proportion of the company’s marketing spend that was directly measurable from business results, and increased return on investment from that measurable budget during her tenure.

Ms. Lemkau once considered the CMO job as the limit of her career, she said. But encouragement from his boss, the bank’s retired co-chairman and chief operating officer, Gordon Smith, led him to leave for the CEO role.

Even CMOs who don’t have such a mentor should be determined to ask for a promotion, and if they’re told they don’t have enough experience, ask how they can get it. can.

“Don’t accept that the CMO is your roof,” said Ms. Lemkau. “Raise your hand, ask for the next thing, and say, ‘Why not me?'”

Katie Deighton [email protected] Feather


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