Uber appoints Coca-Cola veteran Rebecca Messina as its chief marketing officer

Uber announced today that it has hired Coca-Cola veteran Rebecca Messina to serve as its chief marketing officer. Messina is the first person to hold that title at Uber and will work with its international marketing teams on Uber’s branding and marketing strategies.

Messina will oversee marketing for Uber as it gets ready for an initial public offering that is expected to take place next year. Messina’s appointment is another sign that Uber is building its roster for a stock market debut. Last month, it announced that Nelson J. Chai, former CEO of Warranty Group, will be its new chief financial officer after a long search.

Messina’s tasks include helping to repair Uber’s reputation, which is still smarting from last year’s upheaval, including the resignation of co-founder Travis Kalanick and accusations of a toxic work culture.

While Messina is the first person to hold the CMO title at Uber, Bozoma Saint John previously served as Uber’s first chief brand officer for about a year after joining in June 2017. At that point, Uber was in the midst of a crisis, including numerous reports about sexual harassment, that contributed to the resignation of co-founder Travis Kalanick as CEO. Saint John left Uber in June 2018 after being offered the chief marketing officer position at entertainment industry giant Endeavor.

Prior to joining Uber, Messina was global chief marketing officer at spirits company Beam Suntory, a position she had held since 2014. Before that, she spent 22 years at the Coca-Cola Company, where her last role was senior vice president of marketing and innovation for ventures and emerging brands.

In Uber’s announcement, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said “I’m thrilled to welcome Rebecca to Uber. She’s exactly the right leader to build our marketing efforts globally and to showcase the ways Uber is igniting opportunities for our customers around the world.”

In her own statement, Messina said “Joining Uber is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a true privilege. My focus has always been on three things: people, growth and brands. Uber checks all three boxes: a rapidly growing global business, with the opportunity to build an iconic brand alongside a team that’s committed to transforming the future of mobility. I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead.”