The move follows last year’s shuttering of Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Radio. It also comes after weeks of tensions within the energy drink company over Black Lives Matter.
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Red Bull names its first Black CMO and shakes up its marketing team after internal Black Lives Matter controversy
Summary List Placement Red Bull has named a new CMO and laid off more than 50...Summary List Placement Red Bull has named a new CMO and laid off more than 50 people around the world, mostly in its culture marketing department, following internal controversy over the company's response to Black Lives Matter and the leak of a racially offensive presentation slide. The culture marketing department is known for organizing and sponsoring concerts, festivals and other events with a big focus on hip-hop music and breakdancing. Multiple employees said leadership credited this work with helping Red Bull perform well during the pandemic, and a June presentation from North America CEO Stefan Kozak and CMO Amy Taylor showed that the company had outperformed its chief rival, Monster. But then Kozak and Taylor were fired in July. It was widely believed they were fired because Red Bull corporate leaders in Austria blamed them for leaks and the internal tensions behind them. The month before, 300 employees had signed a letter to them that was leaked to Business Insider and that urged the company to more explicitly support BLM. Kozak and Taylor subsequently announced plans for diversity efforts. Also in June, an offensive slide that was shown at a company meeting was leaked to Business Insider. Along with Kozak and Taylor, the company also fired the marketing exec, Florian Klaass, whose team was responsible for the slide, according to multiple people. Multiple people said several of the employees involved in organizing the Black Lives Matter letter were among the roughly 50 who were let go. The most recent round of layoffs hit the US on September 1. On Sept. 30, Red Bull promoted its brand marketing head Ken Turner to North American EVP and CMO, making him Red Bull's highest-ranking Black executive. His promotion followed another key change. Erin Woody, VP of culture marketing who reported to Taylor and led many of Red Bull's most visible projects, resigned a few weeks ago after 10 years at the company. Woody did not respond to requests for comment. Asked for comment on the recent changes, a spokeswoman for parent company Red Bull GmbH said the company restructured its culture marketing team to focus on programs that have the most impact. She said some of Red Bull's dance competitions and local efforts, like a Detroit-based artist residency program, would continue. Got more information about this story or another ad industry tip? Contact Patrick Coffee on Signal at (347) 563-7289, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or via Twitter DM @PatrickCoffee. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.SEE ALSO: Bain Capital-owned Kantar is cutting 10% of staff as the research firm takes a hit in the pandemic Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
Red Bull has shaken up its US leadership and global marketing operation. Here's how the energy drink company has responded to turmoil over Black Lives Matter and calls to increase diversity.
Red Bull has been through a series of executive-level changes over the past two months due...Red Bull has been through a series of executive-level changes over the past two months due to internal tension over the energy drink giant's diversity efforts and its response to Black Lives Matter. The company's North American CEO and CMO were fired while working to expand outreach to the Black community. Insiders said the turmoil reflects a cultural divide between Red Bull leadership in Austria and the US, its largest market. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In July, energy drink giant Red Bull fired three top executives, including its North American CEO and CMO, and dissolved the cultural marketing divisions that organized events like live music festivals. These moves came after internal tensions over Black Lives Matter went public and an offensive slide from a company presentation that was first published by Business Insider and drew attention from major media outlets like The Wall Street Journal. The departed execs had been working on a plan to increase Red Bull's diversity and outreach to the Black community, but insiders said that project's future is now in doubt. An interim team has been named to run the organization in North America while Red Bull seeks new leadership. The turmoil came as Red Bull's sales continued to grow. The company said it sold nearly one can for every person on earth in 2019 and bounced back from a brief coronavirus-related dip to gain market share over chief rival Monster this year. In recent weeks: More than 300 employees signed a June 1 letter addressed to North American CEO Stefan Kozak and president, CMO Amy Taylor that questioned the company's "public silence" regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. It asked for more detail on how the company, which has often partnered with Black celebrities, would support its Black employees and the Black community at large. Employees later leaked a slide from a February corporate event that used a world map that described India as "call centers," Africa as "zoo animals come from here," and the Middle East as "evil doers." Employees said colleagues warned organizers not to use it and made complaints to human resources. Three weeks after the leak, Red Bull's corporate leadership in Austria fired Kozak, Taylor, and global head of music, entertainment, and culture marketing Florian Klaas, whose team was said to have chosen the slide. It also dissolved the teams that organize sponsored music festivals and other cultural events. Insiders called the firings acts of retaliation. "We reject racism in every form," Red Bull's board wrote in an all-staff memo. An internal video from June 17 laid out the diversity programs Kozak and Taylor were developing when they were fired. They included collaborations with Chance the Rapper's charity and a consulting firm that specializes in diversity as well as new employee resource groups. SEE ALSO: Fewer than 3% of US executives at ad giant Havas are Black. Read the deck outlining its ambitious plan to increase diversity. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Swayze Valentine is the only female treating fighters' cuts and bruises inside the UFC octagon
Red Bull fires top North American executives following internal controversy over Black Lives Matter and the leak of an offensive presentation slide
Red Bull fired its top two North American executives, CEO Stefan Kozak and president and CMO...Red Bull fired its top two North American executives, CEO Stefan Kozak and president and CMO Amy Taylor. The company also fired global head of music, entertainment, and culture marketing Florian Klaass and reduced or dissolved its cultural marketing teams in the UK, Canada, and its home country of Austria. The moves came weeks after employees leaked a letter to leadership that criticized Red Bull's "public silence" on Black Lives Matter and an offensive slide from a company presentation. Insiders said it was widely believed the North American execs were fired because corporate leaders in Austria blamed them for the leaks and internal tensions behind them. Click here for more Business Insider stories. Red Bull fired its top two North American executives, CEO Stefan Kozak and president and CMO Amy Taylor, and global head of music, entertainment, and culture marketing Florian Klaass. A person with direct knowledge of the firings, who is known to Business Insider but requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss it, said Klaass was let go over his role in a February corporate event where a presentation slide was shown that featured racist stereotypes. The slide, which was leaked to Business Insider, showed a world map that labeled the Middle East and Southeast Asia as "evil doers," continental Europe as "pussies," and South America as "coffee comes from here I think." Multiple employees said Klaass' Austria-based team included the slide despite being warned not to do so by US colleagues. Red Bull more recently has been rife with internal tensions over Black Lives Matter. Employees leaked a letter that was sent June 1 to Kozak and Taylor criticizing the company's "public silence" on the movement. The three fired executives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An internal memo confirming the US changes is printed at the bottom of this story. Employees said the firings were acts of retaliation Several insiders close to the situation said it was widely believed that Kozak and Taylor were fired by Austrian leadership over the leak and internal tension over diversity issues. Two employees said Taylor had been working on a project to increase Black representation at Red Bull but that the leadership wasn't interested. Another employee said that managers urged staff not to leak any more information, warning that Kozak and Taylor could be fired if leaks continued. Red Bull also cancelled several major cultural events and dissolved the teams that oversee them Along with firing the executives, Red Bull cut or dissolved entertainment and culture teams in Canada, the UK, and Austria and canceled most of its major cultural events, including its annual Red Bull Music Festival and Red Bull Presents. "Red Bull has decided to strengthen the focus of its culture marketing programs on where it makes most impact," the spokeswoman said. "Culture programs that remain include Red Bull BC One, Red Bull Dance Your Style, Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos." Two employees said global CEO Dietrich Mateschitz told staff earlier this year that there wouldn't be any layoffs in 2020. Two others who work in marketing, however, said management told them that between 20 and 50 people were laid off or told that they would have to choose between new jobs and exit packages. Another employee said the culture teams were seen as the most vocal about racial justice matters and that US staffers saw the restructuring as a form of punishment. The company's board said it rejected racism Red Bull consists of two separate organizations: Austria-based Red Bull GmbH and Red Bull North America, headquartered in Santa Monica. Employees told Business Insider the firings and leaks illustrate a divide between the company's US culture and its more conservative Austrian leaders. Red Bull's board of directors addressed the leaks in a June 26 memo that read: "We reject racism in every form, we always have, and we always will. Anyone who knows anything about our company knows this." "Red Bull has always put people and their dreams and accomplishments at its core and values the contribution of each and every person — no matter who they are. We want everyone who feels this way to be welcome in Red Bull," it concluded. Kozak spent 16 years with the company, running its Canadian and Latin American divisions before being named North American CEO in July 2010. Taylor had been with Red Bull for 20 years after working with the Atlanta Hawks organization. Klaass was a 14-year veteran. Read the memo announcing the North American restructuring below. RBNA, I would like to share with you the changes that will happen in Red Bull North America this week. Stefan Kozak and Amy Taylor will leave Red Bull. We would like to thank Stefan and Amy for their contribution and wish them the best for the future. Stefan and Amy's successors as CEO and CMO respectively will be announced at a later stage. In the interim period and for the Business Planning process: Matt Rosenmayr and Alexandre Ruberti will be responsible for local co-ordination in the US and will represent the US Leadership Team in Austria. Alexandre Ruberti will continue to lead Sales and Distribution for RBNA and RBDC and in the interim will take on the responsibility of our 3 Business Units. Bill Connors, Eddie Hayden and Joe Waters will report to Alexandre. Anjelica Garcia, Djenaba Parker and Marc Rosenmayr will continue to lead their respective teams. Ken Turner will, on top of his current role as Head of Brand Marketing, coordinate the other Marketing disciplines with the support of Markus Obrist (Area Marketing Manager NA) Alexandre, Anjelica, Djenaba, Ken, Marc and Keith DeGrace will report to him. These changes are effective immediately. We are extremely proud of what the North American business has been able to achieve including increasing our market share in what has been a challenging year for all of us and we want to say thank you to everyone for your commitment to continue to deliver excellent results. We look forward to your 2021 plans to help grow our brand for the future. We will work closely with the business leaders to ensure a successful 2020 and Business Plan 2021 and I will travel to the US and Canada as soon as I am able to do so. Regards, Franz WatzlawickChief Commercial Officer Got more information about this story or another ad industry tip? Contact Patrick Coffee on Signal at (347) 563-7289, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or via Twitter DM @PatrickCoffee. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence