World's 50 most influential CMOs revealed (HP, Apple, GE and Cisco)

Some 40% of the world’s most influential CMOs work in the technology, telecoms or IT sector.

A ranking of the top 50 most influential CMOs globally – carried out by Forbes, social media management system Sprinklr and LinkedIn – found financial services was the next best-represented sector with nine inclusions. The prevalence of tech sector CMOs was attributed to the high level of social network use and large audience expectation in that sector of a digital presence.

Almost three-quarters of the top 50 have been in their role for fewer than three years.

The highest ranking CMO from a purely B2B company was Cisco CMO Karen Walker, who was positioned at number 10 on the list.

The research also found 45 of the top 50 are on Twitter and all but one – Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller – have a LinkedIn account. On Twitter, CMOs have an average of 10,000 followers, follow an average of 1600 people and tweet once a day. This compares with the average big-brand CMO who has 4000 followers, follows 600 people and tweets once every other day.

To come up with the ranking, the study looked at factors including impact on brand performance and brand awareness, external and internal influence and influence on peers.

Top 10 most influential CMOs

  1. Keith Weed, CMO, Unilever
  2. Antonio Lucio, global chief marketing and communication officer, HP
  3. Phil Schiller, SVP worldwide marketing, Apple
  4. Linda Boff, CMO, GE
  5. Leslie Berland, CMO, Twitter
  6. Marc Mathieu, CMO, Samsung Electronics America
  7. Musa Tariq, chief brand officer, Ford
  8. Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO, Airbnb
  9. Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, healthcare business, Mastercard
  10. Karen Walker, CMO, Cisco

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