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Endeavor has signed a new chief marketing officer, poaching a high-profile executive from Uber.
Bozoma Saint John is leaving the ridesharing app to join the parent company of talent agency WME, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Her 20-year career includes serving as head of music and entertainment marketing at PepsiCo, after which she was personally recruited by Jimmy Iovine in 2014 to join Beats Music, which was soon acquired by Apple. Saint John became a media sensation in 2016 thanks to her dynamic presentation at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. She joined Uber last summer as chief brand officer, shepherding the ridesharing app’s public image during a challenging transition time for the company.
“My past year at Uber has been transformative personally and professionally,” Saint John tells THR. “There was so much upheaval when I first got to Uber, and it tested everything I have as a marketer and employee. There was a desire to create real change, and changing the storyline has been challenging, but I know [CEO] Dara [Khosrowshahi] has [a] real intention to make the company as great as it can be.”
Saint John’s professional accolades include being named Billboard‘s Female Executive of the Year in 2016 as well as making the lists of Fast Company‘s 100 Most Creative People; Ad Age‘s 50 Most Creative People, Innovators & Stars; Ebony‘s 100 Most Powerful Executives; Adweek‘s Most Exciting Personalities in Advertising; and both Fortune‘s Disruptors and 40 Under 40 lists.
“Boz’s strong creative vision has the power to create cultural moments that are transformative for brands,” Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel said in a statement. “We’re excited for what it means when her vision comes face to face with our client roster and portfolio of brands who are shaping the cultural conversation around the world every day.”
At Endeavor, Saint John will drive marketing efforts for the entire organization, including Endeavor Global Marketing clients and premium brands as well as its portfolio of companies, which include WME, IMG, UFC, Professional Bull Riders, Miss Universe and Frieze.
Despite moving to the agency world for the first time, Saint John sees similarities with her past work. “It very much reminds me of Pepsi and Apple in that there are brands underneath the brands, which I’m very comfortable with. [At those companies], I’ve always been entrenched in pop culture to some capacity, and I believe this job was made for me,” she says, quipping that her new position feels like “CMO of pop culture.”
“It’s always been a constant juggle of portfolios to figure out how they work together to tell an exciting brand story. This is a really great moment for Endeavor, which holds together so many different types of companies,” she continues. “I love the fact that there is so much work to be done to help elevate what is already such a fantastic opportunity at Endeavor, to bring together all these stories being told already and to connect them to each other. All of these facets underneath the holding company allow for that much greater storytelling. How do we make sure that across all verticals we tell the most efficient, effective story for the audience?”
Said WME/IMG co-president Mark Shapiro in a statement: “Boz leaves an indelible mark on every brand, product and event she encounters. She’s not afraid to ask the tough questions, take bold risks and demand the best out of everyone. She’s a true agent of change, and we’re looking forward to having her help us usher in a new era of innovation for our clients and our own brand.”
In addition to her official marketing duties, Saint John also looks forward to joining the ongoing conversation about the experiences of women in the Hollywood workplace. “I’ve been a black woman my whole life, and this has been a concern for me my entire career,” she says. “Everywhere I go, I do my best to contribute to solutions that help make a better culture and environment for women and women of color, specifically. Now that I’m in a more senior position to help impact policy and cultural norms, I feel very grateful to be able to represent in that way, and I have high expectations I’ll be able to contribute to the conversation at Endeavor and in the industry at large.”