Wells Fargo marketing head is exiting amid a wider restructuring of its marketing function and the scrapping of the CMO role

  • Michael Lacorazza, top marketer at Wells Fargo, is heading for the exits.
  • His move comes as the bank is decentralizing its marketing team.
  • Wells Fargo has also retired the central CMO role.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Wells Fargo marketing head Michael Lacorazza is leaving the company amid a wider restructuring that includes the retirement of the chief marketing officer role, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

In February, Wells Fargo announced internally that it was decentralizing the marketing department, a spokesperson confirmed.

Rather than having a team overseeing marketing across the entire business, each division — such as consumer and small business banking, consumer-lending, and commercial banking  — will have its own marketing leads, reporting into that unit’s CEO. The spokesperson did not provide a statement directly related to Lacorazza’s departure.

The move came amid a broader reorganization in February, led by recently appointed CEO Charles Scharf, who split out its three business units into five and hired new executives to lead some of those divisions. The Wells Fargo board and regulators had said the prior structure was one of the factors that had led to the bank’s 2016 fake-accounts scandal, The Wall Street Journal reported. Scharf said he hoped the new model would foster greater accountability and focus at the company.

A number of major companies have retired the CMO role over the years, in favor of other c-level titles like “chief growth officer” and “chief commercial officer.” General Mills said in March, in announcing the departure of global CMO Ivan Pollard, that it won’t be replacing the position. Johnson & Johnson hasn’t had a CMO role since its last CMO, Alison Lewis, left the company in 2019.

Some, like Coca-Cola have gone full-circle. Having scrapped the global CMO role in favor of a chief growth office position in 2017, it reinstated the title in 2020.

The amount of time CMOs spend in their posts has waned over the years – executive search firm Spencer Stuart reported the average tenure of a CMO at the top 100 biggest advertisers in the US slipped to 40 months in 2020 from 41 the prior year. 

Lacorazza moved to oversee the broad marketing function last year as the bank transitioned away from the centralized marketing structure after former longtime CMO Jamie Moldafsky left in September. 

Lacorazza, who is listed on his LinkedIn as Wells Fargo’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, has been with the bank since 2012, having joined the company as its senior vice president of integrated marketing and later becoming executive vice president. He is still with the company and hasn’t yet set a firm date for his exit, the people with knowledge of the matter said.

He joined Wells Fargo from TD Ameritrade, where he was managing director of retail marketing. He has also held senior positions at digital ad agency Digitas, The St. Joe Company, and Marriott International.

Wells Fargo is in the process of hiring a chief marketing officer for its consumer and small business banking division, the company spokesperson said.

“Similar to the CMOs for the other Wells Fargo lines of business, the CSBB CMO will have accountability to define the line of business marketing strategy and execute marketing campaigns,” the spokesperson continued. “The Small Business Banking, Branch Banking, and Deposit Products marketing teams will align under this new leader.”

Scharf joined Wells Fargo in 2019 as its third chief executive in three years, assigned with helping the bank — and its brand — recover from one of the financial sectors biggest major scandals, in which the bank’s employees opened roughly 2 million checking and credit accounts without customers’ knowledge. 

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