Twitter Names American Express Executive as CMO

(Bloomberg) —

Twitter Inc. named Leslie Berland chief marketing officer as it undergoes a major overhaul of its top ranks in an effort to reboot growth.

Berland, 37, was previously senior vice president of digital partnerships at American Express Co. where she spent the past four years on an ad campaign that included a heavy presence on social media and Apple’s iAd mobile platform. American Express ranked 25th in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2015 report.

“She will help tell the stories of our iconic product,” Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said in a tweet.

The appointment came after the social media company lost four members of its executive leadership team over the weekend, including its product and engineering chiefs. Dorsey, 39, is reshaping Twitter after the company’s stock fell 35 percent last year amid concerns the company is no longer able to attract droves of new users. The company is also expected to name two new board members this week, according to people familiar with Twitter’s plans.

Twitter fell 1.8 percent to $16.72 at 10:40 a.m. in New York. The San Francisco-based company is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Feb. 10.

Berland spent 10 years at American Express, where she oversaw advertising, media, sponsorships, content and brand identity. She also helped create the company’s first social media strategies. She was named sixth in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business issue and has been included in Advertising Age’s Creativity 50 list, according to a bio provided by Twitter.

Adam Bain, Twitter’s chief operating officer, said in a post on Twitter that Berland can “flat-out execute” in tough times. “I’ve seen her run thru all kinds of obstacles and nothing stops her when she is determined.”

Twitter has been looking for a CMO for months and started its first advertising campaign about itself in the fall. The duties were previously being directed by the company’s Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto.

Twitter executives think the company’s slowing user growth can be partially attributed to outsiders not knowing what they should use Twitter for, or how to find the content they need on the site. The company has been working to make the product easier for new users, especially during the sign-up process when they have to start following people.

Last year Twitter changed its home page to reflect more of what’s going on within the site, instead of just a login box. The company also did a deal with Google Inc. so tweets would appear in searches, and started marketing it as a service even for people who don’t have an account.

Dorsey’s plan for getting Twitter out of a growth slump depends on enhancing the product, making it easier for people to use and less intimidating for newcomers to the social-media service known for its 140-character limit. The company has made several changes, including adding a Moments section to compile the best tweets about breaking news events on the site.

Twitter is under pressure from investors, who want the company to quickly make a case for why it can be bigger. With more than 300 million monthly active users, Twitter is known for updates from celebrities, politicians and journalists – a powerful group, but not the mainstream, casual user that gives another social media site its 1.55 billion members.

Goldman Sachs lowered its price target for Twitter to $28 from $40 Tuesday.

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