Uber has announced that Rebecca Messina, who spent her last two years at spirits company Beam Suntory, has been named its global chief marketer.
Messina held the same role for Beam Suntory, the home of whiskey brands Jim Beam and Makers’ Mark, Pinnacle vodka and Corvoisier cognac for two years. She recently spoke to The Drum about how her marketing strategy had driven growth for the spirits company.
Prior to that, Messina spent over 22 years at Coca-Cola, where she was most recently its senior vice president, marketing and innovation for ventures and emerging brands. She served in a number of different marketing leadership roles across the company, both in the US and internationally. She also has board membership with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the Ad Council, and has also served on the AMAs national board of directors.
In this role, Messina has been asked to unite the ridesharing service’s marketing teams to coalesce brand messaging and support the company’s growth going forward.
Barney Harford, Uber’s chief operating officer said on Uber’s company blog: “Rebecca brings deep experience in building global brands, and she’ll be a terrific leader for Uber’s marketing teams around the world. We’re excited to learn from her as we work to make Uber one of the world’s most valuable brands, supported by cutting-edge marketing systems.”
Messina called joining the company a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, adding: “My focus has always been on three things: people, growth and brands. Uber checks all three boxes: a rapidly growing global business, with the opportunity to build an iconic brand alongside a team that’s committed to transforming the future of mobility. I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber chief executive, said: “She’s exactly the right leader to build our marketing efforts globally and to showcase the ways Uber is igniting opportunities for our customers around the world Very few brands become verbs; for Uber to have achieved this shows how we’ve captured imaginations and become an important part of our customers’ lives. I’m excited to bring on Rebecca as a steward for our brand moving forward.”
Uber's last couple of years have found it replacing beleaguered founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick, adding on Khosrowshahi, as well as Bozoma Saint John and a slew of other executives to help reform the brand's public and internal-facing image. Now with Messina taking over the marketing charges, she's faced with helping the brand continue winning over customers turned off by its past ways.
Beam Suntory said the hunt was underway for her successor.
"In her two-and-a-half years at Beam Suntory, Rebecca’s leadership has been instrumental in taking our brands and marketing capabilities to the next level. We are determined to build on her success, and we will commence an external search for her successor," " said a spokesperson.
"Rebecca will remain with Beam Suntory through early October to ensure a seamless transition, and her incredibly strong team will help ensure continuity and sustained momentum as we move forward."