Coca-Cola has decided to eliminate the position of CMO in its organization. Former CMO Marcos de Quinto is off to retirement after nearly four decades with the company; instead of replacing him, Coke has created a chief growth officer role to lead both its customer and its commercial teams.

The CGO role will be held by Francisco Crespo, and it was created, according to Coca-Cola, as part of a restructuring, to turn the company into a "growth-oriented and consumer-centered" organization.

Although Coke hasn't explicitly blamed its former CMO for falling revenues (global sales fell from $48 billion in 2012 to $44.3 billion in 2016), we can surmise that the management shakeup was in part driven by declining revenues.

Here's what all marketers can learn from this shakeup.

1. Now is not the time to get comfortable

Coke isn't the only example of an organization looking to put Marketing on the chopping block. Some 30% of CEOs might fire their CMO in 2017, according to Forrester Research, for lacking the skills necessary to pull off digital business transformation.

The average tenure of CMOs in the US is now 4.1 years—half the average tenure of CEOs, and the shortest in the C-suite.

What's more, CMOs are first in the firing line if business growth targets are not met (followed closely by chief sales officers and chief strategy officers), an Accenture Strategy Study found.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Sam Melnick

Sam Melnick is VP of marketing at Allocadia, provider of marketing performance software.

LinkedIn: Sam Melnick

Twitter: @SamMelnick