Domino’s CMO Resigns

NEW YORK After seven years at the helm of the Domino’s Pizza marketing machine, the company has announced that CMO Ken Calwell has left his post.

The reason for his departure was not revealed and no information was given on where he’s headed.

Taking over in the interim will be Domino’s USA president Patrick Doyle, from whom Calwell assumed the position when he was hired in 2001. Doyle will oversee all marketing functions including liaising with lead ad agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Miami — in addition to his duties as president — until the post is filled. Doyle is heading up the executive search that’s already under way, the company said.

Domino’s spends close to $150 million annually on traditional domestic ads, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“We want to thank Ken for everything he has done for Domino’s Pizza,” Doyle said in a statement. “This has included five years of his contributing to our 12-year string without a negative same-store sales comparison. We wish Ken and his family the very best in their future endeavors, and consider them great friends of Domino’s Pizza.”

When Calwell was arrived in June 2001, he had just completed a three-year stint as vp of new product marketing, research and testing at Wendy’s International, where he helped create the burger chain’s national menu strategy. One of those projects was the launch of a salad line called Garden Sensations. Prior to that, Calwell was senior director of marketing at Frito-Lay for two years.

According to the most recent report from food industry research firm Technomic, Chicago, the pizza category showed flat growth in 2007 and Domino’s sales have dropped about 1 percent to an estimated $3.2 billion. It’s now the No. 14 restaurant, as ranked by sales. Meanwhile, other QSR categories such as sandwiches and beverages have experienced strong gains, bolstered by sales increases at chains like Starbucks and Subway.

Crispin in December 2007 broke a major campaign for the client detailing what people might do while waiting 30 minutes for their Domio’s pizzas to arrive.