Goldman Sachs hires AT&T chief brand officer Fiona Carter as 1st CMO

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Goldman Sachs tapped AT&T chief brand officer Fiona Carter as its first-ever chief marketing officer, according to news that was first reported by Axios. Carter’s last day at AT&T is June 26.
  • Carter will be tasked with leading Goldman Sachs’ global brand marketing, content and digital strategy across the firm’s divisions. She will report to John Waldron, president/COO of Goldman Sachs beginning on Sept. 1, according to details the company shared with Marketing Dive.
  • Carter brings more than 27 years of branding and communications experience to the new role. She spent five years at AT&T Communications, most recently overseeing strategy, design, media, social, sponsorships, corporate and B2B marketing and all advertising. Previously, Carter served as chief operating officer of Omnicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services and, prior to that, was EVP at BBDO New York.

Dive Insight:

Goldman Sachs is hiring a CMO for the first time in a hint that marketing and communications will become more prominent for the company. Carter’s experience includes managing an annual advertising budget of over $5 billion, one of the largest advertising budgets in the U.S., Axios reported. The executive also holds extensive experience on the agency side of the industry, having held leadership roles at Omnicom Group and BBDO.

The financial services company has been building up an in-house media team to produce content including podcasts, live events and videos, a strategy that could get a boost across more divisions and global locations under Carter’s leadership. The brand even introduced its own font recently as it looks to support communications around digital finance. In another sign that Goldman Sachs is preparing for a bigger digital focus going forward, the brand is reportedly teaming up with Amazon to offer a digital credit line to small businesses selling on the e-commerce giant’s platform.

Goldman Sachs has also been looking to target more female investors at a time when there is a broad call across industries for greater diversity in marketing. Carter brings significant experience in this area and is credited with getting AT&T to incorporate the Association of National Advertisers’ Gender Equality Measure into its copywriting process, according to details shared by the financial services company. Additionally, Carter was named co-chair of #SeeHer, a group aimed at improving the portrayal of women and girls in marketing.

Goldman Sachs has created a CMO role at a time that the role itself is getting more diverse. Forty-three percent of CMOs at the 100 most advertised brands were women in 2019, up from 36% in 2018 and 28% in 2017, per a recent report from advisory firm Spencer Stuart. Among CMOs who started their position in 2019, 48% were women, up from 44% in 2018 and 38% in 2017.

Along with the increase in women serving as CMOs, these executives’ paychecks are also on the rise. A recent study from the CMO Council found female marketing executives reported higher pay than men in 2019. Female salaries on average were about $213,000 and their bonuses $56,000, while males earned an average of $210,000 and bonuses of $53,000.

As brands face significant pressures during a period marked by a global pandemic, widespread protests in support of social justice for Black people and significant changes in general consumer behaviors, there has been a flurry of changes to marketing leadership. Hilton CMO Kellyn Smith Kenny recently revealed plans to depart the hotel giant after two years, as the company cut 22% of its corporate staff due to the economic downturn. Additionally, Seth Freeman quit his job as CMO of Buffalo Wild Wings after less than two years, as the restaurant faced a difficult road ahead after being closed down during the pandemic.

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