What's next for Mondelez as its chief media officer Bonin Bough hunts a brighter spotlight?

Bonin Bough

Mondelez’s chief media and e-commerce officer has left the company following a near-four year stint. He’s set to spend time outside of the industry, having been plucked by CNBC executives to front a new TV show in Cleveland – a fitting move for a marketer Fast Company once described “as much a celebrity as any of the headliners at the festivals he sponsors.”

Bough's reputation as a visionary thinker was firmly established during his four years at Pepsico where he was digital and social media director.

It was during this time that he was poached by Dana Anderson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. And unlike his peers at other FMCG companies, he was very much brought in as a disrupter, a remit that saw him spend just as much time with start-ups and the likes of Facebook and Twitter as he did traditional media agencies. It was this flip of priorities that helped show investors and the market that Mondelez could be a forward-thinking business in the media aftermath of its separation from Kraft.

And while it has struggled for consistent growth in the interceding years, Bough has successfully pushed the brand to the front of the queue at companies like Facebook and Twitter when it comes to new ad products, while at the same time encouraged its marketers to consider wider behavioural shifts like what it means to manage ‘mobile-first’ brands.

If a traditional media officer is focused on managing agencies, then Bough was much more concerned with three broader areas; to help Mondelez be the best possible media client; to ensure his team identify the best media partners; and to ensure that media is accountable and delivering business growth.

The third task is the one that appeared to become of increasing importance to Bough as evidenced by his decision to take on e-commerce responsibilities last year and his frequent talks on why it was important for Mondelez’s marketing to be self-sustainable with content that not only sells its products but also makes money.

It’s a pertinent issue for many big advertisers, who are all too aware of the need to wrestle back control of some of their media from agencies in the wake of the ANA’s investigation. That’s led to a push to bring about new ways of working internally, revised contracts and more transparency of the media relationship at these businesses, all of which Mondelez will be mindful of as it considers Bough’s successor.

But that successor has yet to be named, with Mondelez not commenting further to The Drum beyond a statement that had been released.

During his tenure, Bough has kept a tight team, personally hiring the likes of Laura Henderson to head up the media monetization plan he devised. His desire for Mondelez to act more like a media owner - and create content that is good enough to actually sell - has been bought into at the highest level at the company and now stands as a cornerstone in its revenue generation plans for the next two years.

Although still in its infancy a substantial amount of capital has been poured into the division to get it off the ground and so whoever takes the reins will have the pressure to make sure it succeeds.

Mondelez has a long history of promoting from within, and so Henderson is arguably in one of the strongest positions to maintain this trajectory. Despite being just over a year into the newly created remit she has already made good on some of the key objectives laid out by Bough.

Cynthia Chen has also worked closely with Bough, most recently as global head of e-commerce and ventures, taking an active role in working with start-ups, while Mondelez’s media director for Europe Gerry D’Angelo has been driving Bough’s vision outside of the US.

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