UPDATED: Whitney on switching Marley Spoon for Treasury Wine Estates

Chief marketing and growth officer of meal delivery business joins as first chief digital and technology officer at TWE

Kate Whitney is switching meal kits for drinks and is joining Treasury Wine Estates as its first chief digital and technology officer.

The current Marley Spoon chief marketing and growth officer was confirmed as the senior executive taking up the role by Treasury Wine Estates on Friday. The newly created position sitting on the executive leadership team oversees digital enablement and technology functions across Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) globally, including its brand-led divisions, Penfolds, Treasury Premium Brands and Treasury Americas.

Whitney joined Marley Spoon back in January 2020 and will be finishing up at the end of December. She boasts of 25 years’ experience in consumer marketing and digital transformation including a stint with Pernod Ricard in the US as director of digital. Her resume also includes senior marketing roles with David Jones and Foxtel, as well as a 10-year stint on agency side with M&C Saatchi.  

“Today’s consumers and customers are increasingly interacting with our brands online. The Covid pandemic accelerated the trend, and creating this executive role reinforces the importance of the digital channel, and technology more broadly, to our global portfolio of brands and our entire business,” TWE CEO, Tim Ford, said. “We look forward to working with Kate to enhance the digital experience we offer, build on our enterprise-wide technology platforms, and develop deeper capability in data and analytics to better understand and respond to emerging consumer trends.”

Kate WhitneyCredit: Marley Spoon
Kate Whitney

Specifically, TWE said the ambition for the new function is to bolster digital capability to deliver against the long-term global growth strategy for its portfolio of award-winning brands including Penfolds, Stags’ Leap, Frank Family Vineyards, Wynns, and Pepperjack, as well as newer, innovation-led brands such as 19 Crimes and Squealing Pig.

Whitney said she was excited about working with the team at TWE to grow some of the best-known brands in wine across key global markets. She officially takes up the reins on 16 January 2023.

“Whether it’s offering wine drinkers who already know and love our brands different digital experiences or introducing our premium and luxury wines to new consumers, the intersection of technology and data science offers so much opportunity,” she commented.

Whitney told CMO the Marley Spoon business and team are in a great position “to smash it out of the park in 2023”. Whitney was recognised for her marketing leadership in the 2021 edition of the CMO50 list.

“I have established a structure that really works at Marley Spoon, with teams split into growth, brand/commercial and content, and it's a really great group of experts doing great work,” she said. “I'd love to stay to see the next wave of work come through after such a tough couple of years through floods, fire and hyper-flation really tested us all, but I'm excited about what lies elsewhere where the challenge is another big step for me. It's beyond consumer marketing, and within the organisation itself that this new CDTO role sits, and that's very attractive thing for me to be a part of.”  

Whitney noted the strength of the global TWE portfolio as well as her respect for Ford's leadership style.

“Observing the business' ability to pivot quickly and hard into what matters over the last two years is what motivated me,” she continued. “The TWE team are clearly driving for owning a more meaningful piece of consumer attention, to get closer to the consumer than a typical winemaker or distributor would ever get, and the wealth of data available means that's a realistic ambition I'm keen to be a part of, all whilst digital will help optimise the revenue opportunities on the table.   

“I know, respect and love the global wine category. After an exhilarating three years at Marley Spoon, I'm thrilled to now return to wine and play for one of the largest and most successful ultra-premium players in the market. It's a dream role for me, no doubt.”       

Marley Spoon is now advertising for a replacement, repositioning the executive-level role as chief marketing and commercial officer, working alongside the Australian CEO as well as global CMO. The job includes owning the topline revenue outcome for the local business, overseeing growth, content and brand functions, and supporting and leading marketing operations.  

Whitney said ‘commercial' was added to the job title because all four Marley Spoon brands now operate their own marketplaces.  

“Those require a set of commercial skills on top of typical ecommerce or subscription marketing,” she explained. “Merchandising those stores, pricing, sourcing and promotions, are all paramount to maximising customer revenue in the years to come.  The strength of the business comes from it being centred on three things: convenience, wellness and personalisation, and the product experience in 2023 is breaking new ground in all three of those strengths.”

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