Unilever's Weed Named Forbes' Most Influential CMO

Unilever’s Keith Weed is No. 1 in this year’s ranking of the world’s most influential chief marketing officers, from Forbes.

As CMOs “increasingly assume responsibility for driving not just brand but business growth, they have an unprecedented opportunity to affect revenue and customer experience,” notes the Forbes summary. As a result, they’re not only gaining influence within their companies and with top management and boards; they’re “becoming more visible and accessible corporate leaders outside of their organizations,” in part through their “personal brands.”



“CMOs have the tools, opportunity and the obligation to personally influence external and internal brand advocacy to drive enterprise value,” sums up Bruce H. Rogers, chief insights officer and head of the CMO practice for Forbes Media.

The media brand partnered with Sprinklr and LinkedIn to build the 2017 list of Top 50 CMOs, using an extensive data-driven analysis that measured performance in a number of ways, including social engagement/mentions and industry/internal influence between last Jan. 1, 2016, and Feb. 1, 2017.

This year’s top 50 list reflects marketing’s increasing diversity. A third of the CMOs are women, including three out of the top 10 spots, and three of the top 10 are men of color. 

Technology, telecommunications and Internet companies account for 40% of the top 50, followed by financial services at 18%.

U.K.-based Weed — chief marketing and communications officer for Unilever — is “the preeminent example” of a CMO shaping the overall perception of a corporate brand, says Forbes.

The other CMOs in the top 10, in order, are Antonio Lucio, global chief marketing and communication officer at HP Inc.; Phil Schiller, SVP of worldwide marketing at Apple; Linda Boff, CMO at GE (also see Boff’s MediaPost Marketing All Star 2016 profile); Leslie Berland, CMOP at Twitter; Marc Mathieu, CMO at Samsung Electronics America; Musa Tariq, chief brand officer at Ford; Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO at Airbnb; Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard; and Karen Walker, CMO at Cisco.

The complete report, including profiles of the top 50, can be downloaded from Sprinklr’s site.

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