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Record number of women fill CMO roles

Almost half of open chief marketing officer positions were filled by women in the first six months of the year, which is a record, according to executive recruiting firm Russell Reynolds Associates’ report “Marketing Moves: Q1 – Q2 2019.”

The firm, which has been keeping tabs on CMO moves for six years, said the prior record was 47 percent in the latter half of 2016. Best Buy, Gap, Bojangles and Tyson Foods are among the companies that appointed women to chief marketing roles in the first half of 2019, reports AdAge

Also notable, considering women are underrepresented among C-suite roles in finance, is that more women than men were appointed to CMO roles in financial services and industrial and natural resources.

Russell Reynolds Associates’ findings might not be surprising since the marketing workforce has been called overwhelmingly female, although that representation doesn’t always translate to top leadership positions.

It’s an encouraging trend since women hold less than 20 percent of senior leadership positions.

In its recent report, leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart found 36 percent of the 100 most-advertised brands in 2018 had a female CMO, which was up from 28 percent in 2017, per AdAge. That report noted, however, the number of minorities in CMO roles had decreased from 2017 to 2018, dropping from 11 to 9.

Russell Reynolds Associates also discovered more than 80 percent of CMO appointments were filled by external hires during the first half of the year, contributing to a succession crisis, the report said

It’s an encouraging trend since women hold less than 20 percent of senior leadership positions.

In its recent report, leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart found 36 percent of the 100 most-advertised brands in 2018 had a female CMO, which was up from 28 percent in 2017, per AdAge. That report noted, however, the number of minorities in CMO roles had decreased from 2017 to 2018, dropping from 11 to 9.

Russell Reynolds Associates also discovered more than 80 percent of CMO appointments were filled by external hires during the first half of the year, contributing to a succession crisis, the report said.

There were more than 200 senior marketing job changes during that six-month period, which is another record. That’s likely due to the tight labor market creating a “buyer’s market” in terms of talent, per the report.

Spencer Stuart suggests such volatility could be chalked up to other issues, like a CEO and CMO not being on the same page, or inflated expectations for CMOs, who have some of the shortest tenures among executive level positions, per AdAge.

The Russell Reynolds Associates report says the median tenure for CMOs was 3 years 2018, up from 2.8 years in 2016.

A number of companies — Uber, Lyft, Hyatt Hotels, Johnson & Johnson, Taco Bell, Coca-Cola — have recently eliminated the CMO position, choosing instead to assign marketing duties to those with titles like chief growth officer, chief brand officer or chief commercial officer, per AdAge.

Organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry reported earlier this year that women hold about 25 percent of C-suite positions, which is up from 23 percent the year prior. Just 6 percent of CEOs are women.

Women are solidly represented among human resources executives: Korn Ferry found 55 percent of chief human resources officers are women. Along with gains in CMO roles, women also saw slight increases in chief financial officer, chief information officer and chief technology officer roles.

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