After eliminating the position of chief marketing officer around a year ago, AccuWeather is bringing it back with the hire of Michelle Harmon-Madsen.
“As the marketplace continues to expand with a focus on access to trusted, accurate weather data and evolving platforms to reach audiences,” said Eric Danetz, global chief business officer, AccuWeather. “Michelle brings the right mix of leadership, creativity, brand savvy and digital expertise to significantly increase the effectiveness of our sales efforts, partnerships and channels.”
Harmon-Madsen does bring a wide range of experience to the position. Most recently, she served as president of retail consultancy ShopperX Lab. Before that, she was svp of brand partnerships for FreshDirect, a New York-based online grocer. She also worked at MediaVest with Microsoft and Procter & Gamble, and oversaw branded entertainment for 19 Entertainment’s American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
Weather is something that brings Harmon-Madsen back to her college days. While working as a tour guide during her time at Penn State, she always told tour groups about the incredible number of meteorologists that the university sends out into the world.
“Weather is something that is such a part of everyone’s life,” said Harmon-Madsen. “It was just the right and exciting place to come and work, and so I was thrilled to be part of it.”
While Harmon-Madsen will be working out of the company’s New York office, AccuWeather has its headquarters are in State College, Penn. And since college, Harmon-Madsen said she’s been a “very loyal customer.”
As CMO, Harmon-Madsen said she’s hoping to open the weather company up to new brand partnership opportunities, centered around helping people get the weather information they need to live “simpler, safer and better.”
Harmon-Madsen said a dream partnership might look like something with Nike Running or The New York Times running section. Because while weather affects everyone every day, it means something different to runners and joggers. A slight change in temperature might make a big difference in that day’s workout, for example.
The company said right now, AccuWeather reaches around 1.5 billion people daily through its digital and media properties across platforms. It was ranked the most accurate weather forecasting provider, according to independent industry tracker ForecastWatch, and serves more than half of Fortune 500 companies daily.
“We are delighted to welcome Michelle to implement her strategic marketing vision for AccuWeather toward achieving our aggressive growth and brand visibility goals globally, said AccuWeather founder and CEO Joel Myers in a statement. “As a company committed to transformation and innovation, Michelle has proven herself to be future-fit, digital savvy and on the leading-edge of consumer and business-to-business marketing.”
Harmon-Madsen also serves on the board of The Pennsylvania State University Alumni Council, and is a former board member of both She Runs It, an organization dedicated to encouraging and promoting women in the advertising industry, and The Pennsylvania State University Smeal College of Business Alumni Society.
Last fall, AccuWeather announced that it would be working with agency Huge on digital initiatives. By reinstating the position of CMO, the weather company falls in line with a trend of brands, like Coca-Cola, that eliminated the role only to bring it back a short time later.