NBCU Taps 'CMO' Kessler For Cross-Platform Sales

Michele Kessler

Last fall, NBC Universal had a notable "artist in residence" on the talent side. Now, it has a similar addition on the business end.

Michele Kessler, the former head of global chocolate strategy at Mars, will begin a stint this month as the "CMO in residence" at the NBCU team, charged with cross-platform sales across multiple company properties.

The visiting "CMO" program offers a paid consultant position for a quarter to a former chief marketer, with Kessler, the second post holder, following K-Mart's Bill Stewart.

The advisor works with the NBCU integrated sales marketing (ISM) operation, led by Maryam Banikarim, the senior vice president of integrated sales marketing at NBCU, to bring a client's perspective to the sales side.

Jon Bon Jovi served in the artist's role for two months last fall. With a new album's release, he agreed to make appearances only on NBCU properties from "Today" to "Inside the Actor's Studio" on Bravo.

Had she been there, Kessler might have advised ISM on attaching a sponsor to Bon Jovi's NBCU tour.

Kessler joined Mars in 2005 in a U.S. CMO role before taking over the newly created worldwide post in strategy for Snickers, M&M's and other treats. Before joining the candy company, she worked at Kraft and Procter & Gamble.

Of the "CMO" residency opportunity, Banikarim stated that it allows NBCU to "learn from a host of talented, creative and respected marketing experts enhance(ing) our ability to develop ideas and programs."

The visiting CMO program debuted in April.

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