Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tier One Carriers' Chief Marketing Officers

The U.S. wireless landscape continues to evolve with elevated competition. The stakes are higher now as postpaid subscriber growth of years past now declines. Postpaid switching (stealing subscribers) is the new battleground while, in parrallel, acquiring high-value prepaid customers has stepped up in urgency.  Add to this, increasing the wholesale customer base, which includes MVNOs and machine-to-machine (including the nascent automobile infotainment), is an added necessity.

While the Chief Executive Officers and Chief Financial Officers get the limelight of quarterly earnings calls and investor conferences, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has the responsibility to further/preserve the corporation's brand equity, and create strategies to help grow the customer base.  With the ultra-competitive nature of the American wireless sector, let's see who is steering the Tier One carriers' marketing and directing campaigns against rivals. The following biographies are taken off the respective corporate websites:

AT&T Mobility - David Christopher 

David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility, leads product strategy, marketing and execution across AT&T’s extensive portfolio of branded wireless communications services and devices.

His responsibilities include overall product direction and planning for branded wireless services, including voice, data and cloud products, devices and accessories and network marketing; national, channel and field marketing – including the marketing strategy and merchandizing for AT&T’s more than 2,400 company owned retail stores; youth and diversity marketing; market research; customer lifecycle management; promotions and pricing; and national advertising and strategic sponsorships.

Christopher also oversees the award-winning AT&T Developer Program and its more than 25,000 members, leading the team that determines and delivers the tools and training developers need to build new and innovative applications.

Previously, Christopher served as chief marketing officer for AT&T’s Mobility and Consumer Markets, which included leading all marketing and product functions that drove the company’s three-screen strategy across wireless, TV and broadband products. He also served as vice president of product management for AT&T’s wireless unit, Cingular Wireless.

Before joining AT&T, Christopher worked at Palm, serving most recently as vice president – Product Marketing and Management with responsibility for the team that defined, developed and managed all Palm-branded product lines worldwide from concept through end of life.

Prior to Palm, Christopher worked for Sara Lee Corporation in Barcelona, Spain and Gent, Belgium.A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Christopher earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Christopher serves on the Ad Council’s board of directors and its executive committee and on the Facebook Client Council.

Sprint - Bill Malloy

Bill Malloy joined Sprint in September 2011 as chief marketing officer.
Malloy brings to Sprint more than 30 years of experience in senior operating roles with marketing, media and wireless companies ranging from start-up ventures to large corporate entities.
He has been involved in the wireless industry almost since its inception in the mid-1980s, holding key marketing and operational leadership positions with McCaw Cellular and AT&T Wireless.
Most recently he was a venture partner with Ignition Partners, a venture capital firm based in Seattle. He joined Ignition in 2002 and during the next seven years was a member of the firm’s wireless communications team. In addition to working on early-stage investments, he represented the firm from 2004 to 2009 as chairman and CEO of Sparkplug Communications, a company created from within Ignition that later merged with Airband Communications. Before Ignition, he served as CEO of two Internet companies, Peapod and Worldstream Communications.
During his tenure at McCaw Cellular and AT&T Wireless he served as executive vice president of U.S. operations for AT&T Wireless, leading the team that created and launched AT&T’s Digital One Rate, the first national wireless calling plan. Before that, he was president of the company’s central region and led the build-out and launch of AT&T PCS markets. He also served as regional vice president of McCaw Cellular’s operations in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri and led national marketing for the company during the launch of Cellular One, the first national wireless brand for independent carriers, and the North American Cellular Network (NACN), the first national wireless call delivery network.
Malloy began working with McCaw in 1985 when he was a partner with the company's advertising agency. Before joining McCaw Cellular, he had an 11-year career in senior operating and partner positions in advertising firms and media companies.

Malloy is a graduate of Washburn University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he graduated from the Kellogg Management Institute.

T-Mobile -  Michael Sievert

G. Michael (Mike) Sievert, age 44, serves as our Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. Mr. Sievert is responsible for strategic development and execution of all marketing, product development, and pricing programs and activities for the Company. Mr. Sievert has also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of T-Mobile USA since November 2012. Prior to joining T-Mobile USA, Mr. Sievert was an entrepreneur and investor involved with several Seattle-area start-up companies, most recently serving as CEO of Discovery Bay Games, a maker of accessories and add-ons for tablet computers, from April 2012 to November 2012. From April 2009 to June 2011, he was Chief Commercial Officer at Clearwire Corporation, a broadband communications provider, responsible for all customer-facing operations. From February 2008 to January 2009, Mr. Sievert was co-founder and CEO of Switchbox Labs, Inc., a consumer technologies developer, leading up to its sale to Lenovo. He also served from January 2005 to February 2008 as Corporate Vice President of the worldwide Windows group at Microsoft Corporation, responsible for global product management and P&L performance for that unit. Prior to Microsoft, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at AT&T Wireless for three years. He also served as Chief Sales and Marketing officer at E*TRADE Financial and began his career with management positions at Procter & Gamble and IBM. He has served on the boards of Rogers Wireless in Canada, Switch & Data Corporation, and a number of technology start-ups. Mr. Sievert received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Verizon Wireless - Ken Dixon

Ken Dixon is vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless company in the United States, with responsibility for all brand management and marketing initiatives for the company, including the management and development of mobile products and services, media buying, agency management and website integration. A premier technology company, Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network.

Previously, Dixon served as president, Midwest Area for Verizon Wireless, where he was responsible for the company’s operations in the Great Plains, Illinois/Wisconsin, Kansas/Missouri, Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky and Ohio/Pennsylvania/West Virginia regions.
Dixon has also served as region president for the company’s Georgia/Alabama, Upstate New York and New England Regions where he was responsible for overseeing general operations and sales leadership. He also served as vice president of Operations and Distribution in the Mid-Atlantic Area and managed business and indirect sales in the Upstate New York and New England Regions.
Dixon joined the wireless industry in 1992 and has since held several management positions in both sales and operations.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY.
  • AT&T's Christopher has been at the helm since April 2007 when previous CMO Marc LeFar (now Vonage CEO) resigned. He has product, service and marketing stints in his past. From that perspective, he understands the mobility business as well as the fixed line consumer side. 
  • Sprint's Malloy became Sprint's formal CMO in April 2011. The position had been vacant ever since Dan Hesse took the helm in 2007. In the years running up to 2011, Hesse had not appointed anyone into the title. But Bill Morgan (now SVP - Marketing at Motorola Mobility) had the overall marketing responsibility until 2011. As an old AT&T Wireless, McCaw Cellular hand, he understands the services and products space. Moreover, his internet/start-up/VC and advertising background gives him well-rounded overall marketing credentials.
  • Mike Sievert, seemingly, is the newest CMO in this peer group also with product, services and software background.  The T-Mobile CMO job has relatively high turnover compared to other Tier Ones. He came on to the scene replacing acting-CMO Andrew Sherrard (still an SVP in Marketing and replaced Cole Brodman May 2012) in mid-November 2012, a month after CEO John Legere took the helm. 
  • Verizon Wireless' Ken Dixon replaced Marni Walden (now Chief Operating Officer who took the post in 2010). There aren't any news releases on when Dixon took the position. As late as February 2012, he was the President of the Midwest region so presumably, it was in 2012 or 2013. Ken Dixon's stints in multiple regional president roles give him both regional and national operational (sales and service) and marketing sensitivities, since regions have the autonomy to do complementary local marketing.  
Each companies' marketing organizations have their own strengths and challenges but that will be for another post.