Could Chief Communication Officers (CCOs) become CMOs? Would they want to be CMOs?
Many already have. They are few and far between but those who have made the transition are thriving in a world of silo-busting integration. We all know who some of them are: Jon Iwata of IBM; Beth Comstock of GE; Christa Carone of Xerox; and Anne Finucane of Bank of America. But some are less celebrated.
When Simon Sproule was promoted from director of communications at the Renault-Nissan Alliance to corporate vice president of global marketing communications, effectively the CMO, of Nissan, he was interviewed by a PR trade in the UK that shall go unnamed. This publication also interviewed a few PR people on Sproule’s new role and the comments were almost universally negative.
I asked Sproule about this, and he said that, “They felt that PR needs to be independent; that PR is different to marketing.” He continued, “I talked to the reporter afterwards and said that this is the classic kind of silo mentality that we don’t need. I suggested that they ring up each one of those skeptics and ask them the basic question that if the CEO walked into their office and said I want you to become the head of marketing and PR for my company, will you do it?”