Lisa Ronson to leave Coles

Chief marketing officer of Coles, Lisa Ronson is leaving the retailer, just weeks after implementing a new bespoke setup, ‘Smith Street’.

Ronson has been at Coles since the beginning of 2019, joining from Tourism Australia where she was also chief marketing officer.

Ronson to depart, Coles will be after a new CMO

Ronson took to LinkedIn to announce the move this afternoon: “It’s with sadness today that I announce I’ve decided to move on from Coles Group to pursue a number of exciting new career interests. I would like to express my thanks for all the support and opportunities Coles has given me over the past 3 and half years. Being part of Coles’s success during some very challenging times and seeing the company grow into one of Australia’s most trusted brands is something I feel immensely proud to have been a part of.”

It comes as peculiar timing for the retail giant, which reappointed Omnicom to its marketing portfolio just three weeks ago as part of a ‘Smith Street’ setup alongside Deloitte Digital, as reported by Mumbrella. It also comes just one week ahead of Coles delivering its full financial results for FY2022.

It is currently not known who will succeed Ronson at Coles, but the search is now underway it is understood. Leah Weckert will take on the head of marketing role in the meantime.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain sent an email internally this afternoon that read:

“After more than three years with Coles, chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson has decided to leave the business to pursue external career interests, including non-executive directorships and her role as adjunct professor at Deakin University. With her future aspirations in mind Lisa has recently completed the AICD course.

“I would like to thank Lisa for her significant contribution to Coles. She leaves behind a strong and engaged Marketing team and a long list of achievements including the digital transformation of our marketing communications as we stopped delivering paper catalogues door to door, along with the launch of our Value the Australian Way and Together to Zero platforms.

“Lisa also led a number of significant commercial and community partnerships including the AFLW/AFL, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and Aussie Ark. Notably, during Lisa’s time, Coles became one of Australia’s most trusted brands, which is a significant milestone we can all be proud of.

Last month Ronson spearheaded foundation of Coles’ new Smith Street bespoke agency

“We are working through transition arrangements with Lisa and anticipate that she will leave Coles in September. We have commenced a local and global search to fill this important ELT role, and in the interim, I have asked Leah Weckert to assume responsibility for Marketing. The five Marketing GMs will transition to report to Leah effective mid-September.”

Completing the AICD course recently suggests a move into a more director-focused or board role.

Ronson added that “it is time to change things up a little” having worked across a number of sectors including FMCG, payments, banking, retail, tourism and supermarkets.

“I’m currently exploring an exciting business opportunity as well as plan to focus on my non-executive directorship positions and using my new role as Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Deakin University, to continue to help educate future marketing leaders.”

She continued: “During my time at Coles, I’m immensely proud to have developed a strong, highly engaged Marketing team and led a number of milestone achievements: leading the digital transformation of our marketing communications, launched the exciting Coles Media business, landed our ‘Value the Australian Way’ brand platform and breakthrough ‘Together to Zero’ sustainability platform. I’m also grateful to have also led a number of important commercial partnerships and community programs such as AFL – Australian Football League & AFLW, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Aussie Ark.”

Ronson will depart in late September and added: “I can’t reveal too much but am excited about the next chapter in my career and look forward to staying connected with all my colleagues, partners and friends in the industry.”

This topic was discussed on a recent episode of the Mumbrellacast.


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