Wendy's names Procter & Gamble vet as new chief marketing officer

The Wendy's Company has announced the appointment of Craig S. Bahner, 47, as its chief marketing officer and a member of its executive leadership team, effective April 2.

Bahner will report to Wendy's president and CEO Emil Brolick.

Throughout a 20-year career at The Procter & Gamble Company, Bahner helped drive growth for some of the most important and competitive businesses in the company's portfolio. Most recently, he served as vice president, North America Retail Hair. In this capacity, he had full P&L responsibility for P&G's $2.2 billion retail hair business in North America, encompassing Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences and other brands. He led a multifunctional team of more than 200 employees, plus operations of two manufacturing sites, while delivering strong results across key business and organizational metrics.

"We are very pleased to add Craig to our executive management team. He is a proven brand builder and five-star achiever. He brings tremendous strategic management skills and a successful track record of exceptional business and marketing execution to our brand. He will help us engage and emotionally connect with consumers in new and powerful ways through all components of our marketing program," Brolick said.

Bahner's background with P&G also includes service from 2002 to 2006 as vice president, Northeast Asia Fabric and Home Care. Based in Japan, Bahner played a key role in building strong market positions for P&G brands across a number of categories through organic growth, new brand launches and acquisitions.

Prior, he served as marketing director, North America Fabric Care from 1999 to 2002, where he directed marketing programs for P&G's U.S. Laundry business -- key brands included Tide, Gain, Cheer and Era.

During his first 10 years at P&G, Bahner headed a number of brand management and strategic planning assignments with increasing levels of responsibility. Prior to joining P&G, Bahner worked for The Sportsman's Market Inc. and The Pillsbury Company.

A native of Wheelersburg, Ohio, Bahner holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Wendy's is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, a Columbus suburb.

Bahner will face a tall task from the get-go. During the company's most recent earnings call, Brolick said the company is planning a new ad campaign in April, even though he called the current "You Know When It's Real" tag the company's best since the Dave Thomas campaign ended in 2002.

"We know we can take it to another level. Too many consumers don't have top of mind knowledge of what makes Wendy's better, different. Our goal is to compete for share of mind, not just to sell products; to make an emotional connection with consumers," he said.

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