Samsung names new marketing, creative chiefs for its US ops

The two executives join the company after a string of high-profile executive departures, including the exit of Todd Pendleton, the man behind Samsung's "Next Big Thing" campaign.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
3 min read

Marc Mathieu, the former senior vice president of global marketing at Unilever, has been named chief marketing officer at Samsung's North American operations. Samsung

Samsung on Wednesday revealed the new executives tasked with leading its North American marketing campaigns as the company struggles against Apple in the fiercely competitive mobile market.

The company appointed Marc Mathieu as chief marketing officer to oversee all marketing for Samsung's North American operations, including televisions, home appliances and mobile devices. And it named Jesse Coulter as chief creative offer to lead all creative efforts and campaigns.

Mathieu "brings nearly two decades of expertise building and positioning some of the world's largest brands," Samsung said. He most recently served as the senior vice president of global marketing at Unilever and previously held the position of senior vice president of global brand marketing at Coca-Cola.

Coulter, who will report to Mathieu, most recently held the position of co-chief creative officer for CAA Marketing at Creative Artists Agency, "where he led numerous award-winning campaigns for brands such as Chipotle," Samsung said.

The new appointments come after several high-profile departures at Samsung's North American businesses. The most recent high-profile exit was Todd Pendleton, the chief marketing officer for Samsung's US mobile operations whose April departure was first reported by CNET. Pendleton was the executive behind Samsung's successful "Next Big Thing" campaign, which mocked Apple's devices and fanboys and helped Samsung's Galaxy S3 become the best-selling smartphone in the world, at least for a time. Pendleton served in the role for nearly four years before his departure.

Jesse Coulter, the former co-chief creative officer for CAA Marketing at Creative Artists Agency, has been named chief creative officer for Samsung's North America operations. Samsung

Pendleton was the latest in a string of executive departures that have plagued Samsung over the past year. Executive turnover isn't surprising at an organization Samsung's size (it employs nearly 300,000 people around the globe), but the South Korean company has been hit by several high-ranking departures in the US. Many have exited the mobile business, but others have left the electronics arm responsible for TVs and home appliances.

Also adding to the problem was a plan by Samsung to relocate its US mobile marketing group, business-to-business operations and some other teams from Richardson, Texas, to a new facility in New York's Meatpacking District or to Samsung's North American headquarters in Ridgefield Park, N.J. That led to many departures in mid-2014. Pendleton was part of the team originally slated to move. Though Samsung pared back some of its plans, the new executives will be based in the New York location.

Samsung on Wednesday officially opened its Global Marketing Center of Excellence, or COE, with the appointments of Mathieu and Coulter. The CEO occupies three floors of office space at Samsung's new building in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, a building that will feature an executive briefing center, "experiential product showcase" and event space when it's completed later this year.

As part of his role as head of marketing, Mathieu will oversee the COE's efforts "to be an incubator for marketing innovation and home to the U.S.-based creative, digital, content services and brand marketing teams," Samsung said.

After leading the smartphone market for the past four years, Samsung has seen its profit slide as customers have defected to rival Xiaomi in China, Micromax in India and Apple nearly everywhere else. In the global smartphone market, Samsung tied with Apple as the No. 1 vendor in the fourth quarter of 2014 -- a competitor it had crushed not too long ago. Mathieu and Coulter will be tasked with helping turn things around for Samsung.

"Today's appointments matched with the opening of the COE mark a new chapter in marketing for Samsung," Gregory Lee, president and chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics North America, said in a press release.