Diego Scotti has been the chief marketing officer at Verizon for eight years, notching to multiple Cannes Lions wins and leading Super Bowl campaigns. Now, Scotti has announced that he will leave Verizon to focus on another yet-to-be-named venture.
In an internal memo obtained by Adweek, Scotti said he is building a new chapter in his career and looking to explore new challenges, and that the company wishes him all the best in the future.
“We have benefited from having Diego as our CMO during a time of critical importance for our company; his impact on our brand and our business has been immense. I, for one, am grateful for his energy, partnership and leadership,” said the memo, which is attributed to Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon.
Scotti will help transition his team to ensure a strong second quarter and will continue to report to Vestberg until his departure later this year.
Recent changes at Verizon
Verizon has undergone a number of changes across its marketing and creative teams. In October, chief creative officer Andrew McKechnie left the company, which consolidated its Creative Marketing Group and Marketing Activation team under Kristin McHugh. Tony Wells left his role as the brand’s chief media officer earlier this year as well.
The brand has also shuffled some of its agency partners, handing its Verizon Business account to Ogilvy from McCann and shifting around some agency assignments within IPG. Verizon also consolidated all of its media with Publicis following the acquisition of Tracfone.
Scotti’s departure will lead to new organizational changes. Jim Gerace, chief communications officer, will report directly to Vestberg. Rose Kirk, chief corporate social responsibility officer, will move into human resources, while Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer, will assume interim leadership for the remaining CMO organization to provide day-to-day coverage and support.
Success through authenticity
Scotti helped Verizon build its marketing prowess through authenticity and a push to highlight first responders in its Super Bowl marketing efforts.
Verizon had taken a six-year hiatus before returning to the Big Game in 2018. Since then, it has used the Super Bowl as a platform to position itself as the preferred network of first responders, a strategy that’s helped hammer home its “America’s most reliable network” tagline. One notable spot featured an emotional reunion between Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn and the people who saved his life following a car accident in 2005.
Scotti also helped guide Verizon through moments of crisis, including during the pandemic, by leaning into social issues and making changes.
“Sometimes, companies start questioning everything during a moment of crisis, but you need to lean into your strategy now more than ever,” Scotti told Adweek in 2020.
Verizon introduced a diversity and inclusion council in 2019 and supports nine employee resource groups, including the Black Resource Association of Verizon Employees and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees of Verizon and Their Allies. It also implemented an Adfellows program to create a diverse pipeline of talent in marketing and advertising.
In addition, Verizon made a commitment to spend 30% of its marketing budget on diverse-owned video, experiential and print production firms, and the creation of training materials for internal teams and partner agency teams that take into account an industry-wide gender equality measure.
In 2017, Verizon launched its in-house agency, the Verizon Creative Marketing Group, to help promote itself as a 5G-powered technology brand. In 2022, Verizon was awarded a Gold Lion at Cannes, the first in the company’s history, for its “9/12: The Untold Story of Reconnecting New York” documentary campaign.
Scotti is currently vice chair of the board of directors for the Ad Council and a board member of the ANA. Prior to Verizon, Scotti held marketing roles at J.Crew, Vogue and American Express. ADWeek