Colin McConnell to exit Prudential Financial after 27 years

With McConnell's departure, Prudential's marketing and communications functions are separating on its org chart.

NEWARK, NJ: Prudential Financial chief brand officer Colin McConnell is exiting the company after a 27-year career, and the company is splitting the reporting structure for its marketing and communications groups.

McConnell is set to leave at the end of the year. The company will not replace him in the chief brand officer role. With McConnell’s departure, Prudential Financial's marketing and comms functions will be separated on the company’s org chart, but stick with the same strategy.

Prudential Financial's global comms function will be led by chief communications officer Lauren Day, who will report to vice chairman Rob Falzon; she previously reported to McConnell. Laura Burke will continue to lead global communications partnerships with corporate centers, and Alan Sexton will continue to lead global communications partnerships with Prudential’s domestic and international businesses and will join the U.S. operating council. Both Burke and Sexton will continue to report to Day.

Allyson Hugley, most recently president of measurement and analytics at Weber Shandwick, is set to join Prudential Financial's communications team on December 17 as head of comms analytics and market intelligence. Hugley will also report to Day.

"The mandate for communications is growing, and we are well-positioned within the company," said Day. "We are being elevated within Prudential because the understanding of what we do is deepening."

McConnell added that his mission as chief brand officer has been "accomplished," therefore the company is not replacing him.

"My mission was multifaceted, turning the core marketing and comms capabilities into a strategic advantage for Prudential," said McConnell. "To do that, several things needed to happen: building capability within those domains, dramatically upscaling and diversifying the capabilities of our comms function, and creating strategic integration of those disciplines while developing talent to give us a sustainable advantage and succession pipelines and people who are ready to step up and lead."

The marketing function does not have a global CMO. However, global marketing communications, including brand marketing and advertising and the Decision Insights Group, will move to the U.S. businesses division under the leadership of Niharika Shah, VP of brand marketing and advertising. Shah will report to Steve Pelletier, EVP and chief operating officer of U.S. businesses; she previously reported to MCConnell. Shah will also join the U.S. operating council. Jackie Chan will continue to lead DIG and its global partnerships, reporting to Shah.

The goal of the reorganization is to bring into closer alignment Prudential Financial's core marketing capabilities, including the above functions, the customer office, and the ISG and WSG marketing organizations, McConnell said.

McConnell joined Prudential Financial in 1991 and became its head of advertising in 2009. He was one of the founding members of its in-house advertising agency and took on the newly created role of chief brand officer in 2015, pooling the resources of ad operations and global communications to create a consistent brand presence.

Prosek is AOR for PGIM, Prudential Financial's global asset management business; and Edelman handles corporate communications for the company.

McConnell was jury chair for the 2018 PRWeek U.S. Awards.

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