AT&T Communications Hires Former Hilton Exec as New Chief Marketing and Growth Officer

Kellyn Smith Kenny left her post as global CMO for the hospitality brand in June

Photo of Kellyn Smith Kenny
Kellyn Smith Kenny will step into the new role on Nov. 16. AT&T

AT&T Communications announced today that it has appointed Kellyn Smith Kenny to the newly created position of chief marketing and growth officer.

Smith Kenny was most recently global CMO at Hilton, a role she held for two years before announcing her departure from the company in June. Smith Kenny left as the hospitality brand was grappling with the travel industry’s abrupt halt due to Covid-19, and just after Hilton laid off nearly 2,100 employees.

While AT&T hasn’t been immune to the economic downturn that the pandemic created, the new role for Smith Kenny represents a pivot to one of the industries that’s proven itself essential since those first lockdowns in March. With a huge portion of the workforce telecommuting, communication tech has become an even more vital piece of day-to-day life and business.

In the new role, Smith Kenny will oversee brand strategy, media strategy and planning, market research and insights, competitive and customer intelligence, creative services and strategic partnerships for AT&T Communications, the company said.

Smith Kenny will report to Jeff McElfresh, AT&T Communications CEO. 

The position was created to align to a new structure of AT&T Communications, extending beyond the company’s previous role of chief brand officer and supporting initiatives across the corporation’s three business units: AT&T Communications, WarnerMedia and AT&T Latin America. She will also oversee brand strategy, media strategy and planning, market research and insights, competitive and customer intelligence, creative services, and strategic partnerships.

“Kellyn is a great addition to our leadership team and will apply a fresh perspective and insights to our advertising and marketing efforts as we strive to create more meaningful connections with a growing base of customers,” McElfresh told Adweek.

Prior to Hilton, Smith Kenny held senior marketing roles at Uber, Microsoft and Capital One. Her appointment is effective Nov. 16 and she’ll be based in Dallas.


@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.
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