Can Twitter CFO rescue marketing function?


The appointment of Twitter’s chief financial officer as the company’s new chief marketing officer left many mouths agape in the marketing and tech community. The appointment of Anthony Noto as CMO has raised many questions about the future of Twitter’s marketing department as well as the abilities of a CFO to run a marketing department. A Forbes columnist wrote: “This move signals that Twitter doesn’t understand marketing, doesn’t understand the different ways to design and staff it to drive better results, and has made a potentially flawed decision as a result.”

Twitter has been searching for a CMO for months, and according to another report, “the search for a CMO is more urgent than ever in the company’s past as it is under mounting pressure to increase its rate of user growth and make it more accessible to newcomers.”

Some of the reasons why this move doesn’t bode well – and highlighted by reporters – are the differences between the marketing and finance functions. One commentator noted: Finance is the growth prevention department, while marketing focuses on investments in growth-related activities.

According to Forbes, the move will make it difficult for Twitter to hire top marketing talent, because “it is unlikely that competent marketers with career options will take a job reporting to a CFO.” There is also concern that the CFO in a marketing position won’t be able to teach people in this department much about marketing.

Most alarming for commentators, however, is that Twitter has been searching for a CMO for months and failed to find one.

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