2019 list revealed!

Recognising Australia's innovative and most effective marketing leaders

Brought to you by Adobe

CMO50 2019

  • 1

    Steve Brennen


    Director of marketing, A/NZ

    Learn more
  • 2

    Leisa Bacon


    Director of audiences

    Learn more
  • 3

    Paul Connell


    General manager and marketing director, refreshments division, A/NZ

    Learn more
  • 4

    Brent Smart


    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • 5

    Jeremy Nicholas


    Marketing executive and chief brand officer

    Learn more
  • 6

    Alexander Meyer

    The Iconic

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • 7

    Dean Chadwick

    Virgin Velocity

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • 8

    Jonathan Kerr

    Auto & General (Budget Direct)

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • 9

    David McNeil

    Campbell Arnott's

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • 10

    Sweta Mehra


    Chief marketing officer and digital sales experience tribe lead

    Learn more
  • 11

    Chris Taylor

    National Heart Foundation

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • 12

    Fiona Docherty

    University of New South Wales

    Vice president, external relations (CMO)

    Learn more
  • 13

    Pip Arthur

    Microsoft Australia

    CMO and head of communications

    Learn more
  • 14

    Allan Collins

    Domino’s Pizza Enterprises

    Chief Marketing Officer A/NZ

    Learn more
  • 15

    Jayne Andrews

    Carnival Cruise Line Australia

    Director of marketing

    Learn more
  • 16

    Natalie Sarich-Dayton

    Brownes Dairy

    Director, sales and marketing

    Learn more
  • 17

    Tamara Howe

    Kellogg Australia & New Zealand

    Marketing and corporate affairs director

    Learn more
  • 18

    Yves Calmette

    World Wide Fund For Nature Australia

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • 19

    Paul Stern


    General manager, marketing and online

    Learn more
  • 20

    Louise Eyres

    Sport Australia

    Executive general manager, marketing, customer insights and analytics

    Learn more
  • 21

    Suzanne Morrison

    Mars Wrigley Australia

    Marketing director

    Learn more
  • 22

    Ryan Gracie

    Catch Group

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • 23

    Aisling Finch


    Director of marketing, A/NZ

    Learn more
  • 24

    Brent Hill

    South Australia Tourism Commission

    Executive director of marketing

    Learn more
  • 25

    Pamela Cass


    Vice-president and chief marketing officer, APJ

    Learn more

26 - 50 (In alphabetical order)

  • Adriane McDermott


    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Amanda Johnston-Pell


    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Andrew Chanmugam


    Executive general manager, customer experience

    Learn more
  • Anthony Xydis

    Australian Radio Network

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Anthony Lieu


    Head of marketing

    Learn more
  • Catherine Anderson


    Chief customer officer

    Learn more
  • Diane Belan

    Forever New

    Global corporate GM, marketing and digital

    Learn more
  • Fabian Marrone

    Monash University

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • George Hughes

    The Star Entertainment Group

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Ingrid Purcell

    ME Bank

    Chief experience officer

    Learn more
  • Kate Massey


    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Luke Bould

    Football Federation Australia

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Mathew Hayward

    RM Williams

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Matt Vince

    Freedom Foods Group

    Chief commercial officer

    Learn more
  • Michael Doyle

    City Beach Australia

    Head of marketing

    Learn more
  • Mim Haysom


    Executive general manager, brand and marketing

    Learn more
  • Neil Ridgway

    Rip Curl

    Chief brand and marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Nikki Warburton

    Audi Australia

    Chief customer and marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Renee Davidson


    General manager, marketing and digital

    Learn more
  • Russell Schulman

    Krispy Kreme

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Samantha Bartlett

    Australian Red Cross Blood Service

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Stacey Pennicott


    Executive general manager, membership and community

    Learn more
  • Tony Quarmby

    Tourism Northern Territory

    Executive general manager, marketing

    Learn more
  • Vanessa Lyons

    Wilson Parking

    General manager, marketing and customer experience

    Learn more

Ones to Watch (In alphabetical order)

  • Amy Lee-Hopkins


    Head of marketing and communications

    Learn more
  • Malini Sietaram

    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
  • Tom Willis


    Chief marketing officer

    Learn more
Steve Brennen Director of marketing, A/NZ Uber
Leisa Bacon Director of audiences ABC
Paul Connell General manager and marketing director, refreshments division, A/NZ Unilever
Brent Smart Chief marketing officer IAG
Jeremy Nicholas Marketing executive and chief brand officer Telstra
Alexander Meyer Chief marketing officer The Iconic
Dean Chadwick Chief marketing officer Virgin Velocity
Jonathan Kerr Chief marketing officer Auto & General (Budget Direct)
David McNeil Chief marketing officer Campbell Arnott's
Sweta Mehra Chief marketing officer and digital sales experience tribe lead ANZ
Chris Taylor Chief marketing officer National Heart Foundation
Fiona Docherty Vice president, external relations (CMO) University of New South Wales
Pip Arthur CMO and head of communications Microsoft Australia
Allan Collins Chief Marketing Officer A/NZ Domino’s Pizza Enterprises
Jayne Andrews Director of marketing Carnival Cruise Line Australia
Natalie Sarich-Dayton Director, sales and marketing Brownes Dairy
Tamara Howe Marketing and corporate affairs director Kellogg Australia & New Zealand
Yves Calmette Chief marketing officer World Wide Fund For Nature Australia
Paul Stern General manager, marketing and online Kathmandu
Louise Eyres Executive general manager, marketing, customer insights and analytics Sport Australia
Suzanne Morrison Marketing director Mars Wrigley Australia
Ryan Gracie Chief marketing officer Catch Group
Aisling Finch Director of marketing, A/NZ Google
Brent Hill Executive director of marketing South Australia Tourism Commission
Pamela Cass Vice-president and chief marketing officer, APJ VMware

26 - 50 (In alphabetical order)

Catherine AndersonChief customer officerPowershop
Samantha BartlettChief marketing officerAustralian Red Cross Blood Service
Diane BelanGlobal corporate GM, marketing and digitalForever New
Luke BouldChief marketing officerFootball Federation Australia
Andrew ChanmugamExecutive general manager, customer experienceBankwest
Renee DavidsonGeneral manager, marketing and digitalRACQ
Michael DoyleHead of marketingCity Beach Australia
Kenton ElliotMarketing directorTarget
Mim HaysomExecutive general manager, brand and marketingSuncorp
Mathew HaywardChief marketing officerRM Williams
George HughesChief marketing officerThe Star Entertainment Group
Amanda Johnston-PellChief marketing officerIBM
Anthony LieuHead of marketingLegalVision
Vanessa LyonsGeneral manager, marketing and customer experienceWilson Parking
Fabian MarroneChief marketing officerMonash University
Kate MasseyChief marketing officerJCurve
Adriane McDermottChief marketing officerSeafolly
Stacey PennicottExecutive general manager, membership and communityRACT
Ingrid PurcellChief experience officerME Bank
Tony QuarmbyExecutive general manager, marketingTourism Northern Territory
Neil RidgwayChief brand and marketing officerRip Curl
Russell SchulmanChief marketing officerKrispy Kreme
Matt VinceChief commercial officerFreedom Foods Group
Nikki WarburtonChief customer and marketing officerAudi Australia
Anthony XydisChief marketing officerAustralian Radio Network

Ones to watch (In alphabetical order)

Amy Lee-Hopkins Head of marketing and communications Anglicare
Malini Sietaram Chief marketing officer
Tom Willis Chief marketing officer Lawpath

A leading light

Doing things differently versus systematically, commercial acumen and innovative spirit were all in the spotlight during this year’s CMO50 judging. NADIA CAMERON reports

Are today’s chief marketing officers doing enough to be in the running for CEO? To what extent must they do things differently versus systemically? How much of being a CMO is responding to what the CEO says versus proactively leading the proverbial horse to the waters of customer centricity? Should we really be putting so much emphasis on the wow of one campaign execution? Are Australian marketers using martech in a way that’s realising value or is it a race to the bottom? And what does balancing the craft of marketing with commerciality actually look like?

These were just some questions posed and reflected on by this year’s CMO50 judges as we strived to finalise the list of Australia’s 50 most innovative and effective marketing leaders for 2019.

It’s the fifth year of the CMO50, an annual list designed to recognise and celebrate work reflecting modern marketing leadership innovation and effectiveness. The top theme to emerge from this year’s submissions was yet again the diversity of skillset and remit required in marketing leadership and functions today, as well as the transformative change Australian CMOs continue to lead. This is being driven largely by the emphasis on growth and customer-led ambitions (if not realities), underpinned by significant disruption presented by technology, data and digital.

Former tier-one brand CMO and now marketing strategy consultant, David Morgan, who has judged the CMO50 list every year, agreed 2019 has been the hardest yet. He attributed this firstly to the breadth of remit. Other factors include size of organisation and differing levels of maturity of what marketing entails across industry sectors.

“Marketing leaders are required to be commercially savvy, martech savvy, own communications, juggle a lot of different business objectives, build customer personalisation, own services and more,” he said. “We had nominees with 300 staff in their function, then startups with a handful of staff.”

Even with such an assortment, judges agreed this year’s CMO50 crop exhibited solid, good work, with a shorter tail in nominations and higher calibre of submissions overall. For example, while many talked about rebranding work, it was often couched in purpose and customer insights rather than what a company wanted their brand to be.

“What we did see was a lot still doing structural work, versus the ‘sexy’ work,” Zuni MD, Mike Zeederberg, said. “But we are definitely seeing people endeavouring to do things differently.”

Solid grounding

Yet some judges bemoaned the lack of inspirational leadership, even as they struggled to put their finger on what makes such an individual in a modern context. Morgan, for one, saw CMOs being directed by the executive team, with a lot of reactive rather than proactive leadership. University of Sydney Professor, Vince Mitchell, described CMOs as doing the job well.

“Submissions are a celebration of the basics as we build discipline in marketing,” he commented. “In some categories, it remains harder to be a marketer. We also saw nominees doing great work in individual aspects. There was certainly many wanting to get in and change things, which is a good sign.”

UM CEO, Fiona Johnston, saw many CMOs striving but not quite capturing the true essence of innovation.

“On the innovation piece, I felt we were to some extent ticking the boxes. The reason why [you innovate] has to be tied to context and purpose,” she said.

Former Accenture Interactive MD, Michael Buckley, noted submissions were often a story of work-in-progress transformation, reflecting the significant change CMOs are required to navigate.

Experienced marketer, John Batistich, agreed to a much shorter tail in submissions this year, but less high-end standouts. “That high-level CMO working with peers and the board to achieve alignment focus is disproportional. So I see very strong potential in our group, but not a lot at that top tier.”

Mitchell, however, suggested this was relative to the opportunity being presented to CMOs versus what’s beyond their scope of evolution.

Former Coca-Cola marketer, Lisa Winn, noted marketers are ticking the box on systems and technology. “I hope martech isn’t a race to the bottom – the signs from submissions are that more and more CMOs are finding their martech investments useful and realising value,” she said. “But quality is still missing in many cases around the outputs.”

Yet frameworks and systematic thinking are clearly being embraced, with processes, ways of working, change management programs and data- and customer-led decision making highlighted across CMO50 nominees.

“You do see far more operational / CMO hybrids talking less about brand impressions and more about sales. They’re closer to reflecting strategic business leaders,” Zeederberg said.

“We’re certainly seeing CMOs embrace frameworks and guidelines in order achieve what is expected of them.”

Commerciality was raised as the ongoing hill to climb. Former CMO and now board director, Georgie Williams, said EBIT results were scarce. “If you’re going to run an organisation, you have to know about goodwill, EBIT – things on the balance sheet,” she said. “To understand the true power of what they control, CMOs must think about the way they do things, and drive hard on value.”

Road to CEO

It’s the importance of commercial and leadership acumen that led CMO50 judges to then consider the blurring line between recognising effective marketing leadership, and recognising those with the potential to become CEO.

“I found it easy to rank people a six or seven out of 10, but harder to find those nine out of 10 leaders,” former Telstra group marketing and media executive, Joe Pollard, said of the judging process. “The struggle with the CMO role is it’s still not seen as a future leader of the company. You’d want to be a nine out of 10 to be opening up that leadership opportunity. I want to see more instances where I feel marketers could lead the companies they work for.”

While it’s true many marketers are going to bigger CMO jobs, rather than divisional or company-wide leadership, there are instances. Across CMO50 honoraries between 2015 and 2019, CMO found 11 examples of individuals who’ve risen to a CEO position, either in private or listed enterprises, or as industry association leaders.

Of course, while it’s great to see more CEOs as an output of marketing, Morgan recognised some CMOs won’t want to be CEOs. Nevertheless, as an industry, many CMO50 judges agreed marketing needs to do a much better job of having CMOs see their path to CEO.

“The other debate is the CMO as scientist versus artist. I still want to see the big ideas,” Pollard said. “That is what will truly help change the company.”

CMO50 judges also agreed in rewarding what great marketing leadership looks like, they’re highlighting attributes and work that pave the way to CEO. Because it’s the combination of creative thinking, commerciality, inspiring leadership and customer centricity which present the keys to successful business leadership today.

Whatever the career trajectory, Batistich advised all marketers to work harder to improve clarity of ROI.

“Even if you can’t own all the results, the context of commercial is so important,” Johnston added. “Market yourself; personality does stand out. We are trying to be everything to everyone, and these challenges are key. It comes back to balancing the craft of marketing and its commerciality.”