CMO Shuffle Hits Cisco
It's yet another chapter in the ongoing rotation of big-company CMOs, a role that seems to be suffering an identity crisis.
What are we talking about? Rewind to September 2005, when Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) CMO Ron Spithill departed. We sent our "Special Investigations" team into Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to compare the search hits for six top telecom CMOs, to see how anonymous they were. (See Your CMO Is Who?) The answer appears to be: Barely anybody pays any attention to these folks.
Spithill's departure was followed by the removal of Clent Richardson, who was, until December 20, CMO at Nortel Networks Ltd. , but became a victim of new CEO Mike Zafirovski's boardroom clearout. Clent Richardson, by the way, topped our Telecom CMO Hits Chart, so his relatively high profile didn't help him. (See Nortel's Clent Came & Went.)
But back to Cisco. Replacing James Richardson is Susan L. Bostrom, who has been at Cisco for eight years, most recently as head of the firm's Internet Business Solutions Group, a business unit she founded. Previously, Bostrom was at National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: NSM) and the old AT&T, among other technology firms.
Her task is to "focus on extending the company's strategic positioning, branding, advertising programs, and associated growth initiatives as the company targets a broader customer base. She will be responsible for expanding marketing's role as a stimulus for Cisco's growth strategy and cultivating new opportunities in both new and existing market segments," states the Cisco press release.
Someone tell the Juniper guy
It's worth noting that our original list of six CMOs at top telecom equipment companies did not include a CMO from Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) because the company didn't have one at the time.
But, perhaps in a bout of envy, Juniper has just appointed a new CMO, Jeff Lindholm. (See Dolce & Others out at Juniper.)
Any other CMO shifts on the horizon? Martin Harriman, currently head marketing honcho at Marconi Corp. plc , might have reason to be nervous. That's because he's about to become an employee at Swedish giant Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), which is set to complete its takeover of Marconi (minus the services arm) next week, a spokesman for the British company tells us. (See Ericsson Buys Bulk of Marconi.)
Ericsson already has a CMO -- Bert Nordberg, who took up the role on April 6, 2004. Nordberg, who was on our list of six, is favored to retain the title, and so buck the CMO trend by retaining his job... for now. Who knows when the curse will strike?
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading