June 15, 2021 – As business becomes more global and complex, and power shifts from producers of goods and services to consumers, the chief marketing officer’s job of planning and coordinating marketing activities has become more challenging — and much more influential. JM Search, a senior-level talent provider serving private equity investors, portfolio companies and Fortune 1000s, recently assisted in placing Andre Azer as chief marketing officer of TrueLearn, a test simulation and preparation tool helping students and medical residents study for exams. Elba Pillion and Renee Forcey led the assignment.
Mr. Azer is an online marketing and digital executive with experience managing multimillion-dollar budgets, P&L, as well as small and large teams in global organizations. He is experienced in online travel, B2C tech products, and management. Mr. Azer most recently served as vice president of marketing at StudentUniverse, an online travel agency for students. He was also co-founder and chief operations officer at Salibi Global Group.
JM Search is an advisor to CEOs, investors and boards of directors in recruiting, assessing and delivering high performance leaders and transformational leadership teams. Its clients include private equity firms and portfolio companies, venture capital-backed businesses and publicly held companies across North America. Founded in 1980, the JM Search recruiting team brings together former operating and financial executives, investors and experienced search professionals with deep industry specialization, functional expertise and proven access to talent spanning multiple industry sectors.
Ms. Pillion has over 20 years of experience in recruitment and executive search. She leads the education technology and services practice for JM Search, where she focuses on recruiting executives for companies that provide education technology and services. Ms. Pillion recruits CEOs and functional leaders in areas that include marketing, sales, services, operations, finance, product development and IT.
As a member of the JM Search technology practice, Ms. Forcey focuses on digital media, technology services, media and communications, and financial services. Starting her career early in technology, she has the ability to relate to her clients and candidates. She has managed both global technology product and program management and has grown revenue 10X in pre-IPO environments.
CMOs on the Move
If it seems like there were more chief marketing officer appointments last year than usual, that’s because there were, according to a new article in Ad Age based on research conducted by Russell Reynolds Associates. Announcements of CMO moves rose 25 percent across North America in 2020, with 523 publicly disclosed appointments, up from 420 in 2019, according to the research. And there was an uptick in hiring as the year progressed, with 282 CMO moves in North America coming in the latter half of 2020, up from 241 in the first six months of the year.
Chief Marketing Officers Gaining Momentum As Business Game Changers
Today’s CMO works with the CEO to accelerate the organization and drive transformation. CMOs also collaborate with other members of the C-suite, especially with a company’s top HR executive to shape the company brand.
The turnover came as companies overhauled their organizations during the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to reach consumers whose buying patterns are rapidly evolving. “It has challenged leaders to evolve quicker, innovate faster and cope resiliently,” the report said.
Russell Reynolds also highlighted the number of newly-created roles that were filled, with 17 percent of appointments in the latest six months coming in positions such as chief customer officer, chief commercial officer and chief growth officer that were new at their organizations. Among chief customer officer appointments, 50 percent were into newly-created roles, with the other 50 percent replacing previous chief customer officers. It continues a trend that hit full stride in 2019 of companies crafting new titles that consolidate marketing duties with executives who have broader mandates that often include sales and commercial functions such as product development, retail oversight and more. Russell Reynolds also found a higher percentage of women filling top marketing roles when compared to other leadership roles.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media