Prudential Hires a New CMO, Adds New Chief Market Development Officer Role

Susan Somersille Johnson joins as top marketer from Truist Financial

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Susan Somersille Johnson will assume the role of CMO at Prudential on Oct. 5. Prudential
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Prudential Financial announced today that it’s bringing on Susan Somersille Johnson as its new chief marketing officer. She’ll take over for Naveen Agarwal, who will move into the newly created role of chief market development officer for the brand.

Johnson joins Prudential from Truist Financial, a bank holding company created in 2019 after the merger of SunTrust Bank and BB&T. At Truist, Johnson served as corporate evp and CMO. With 25 years of experience in marketing, she’s also held senior marketing positions at NCR Corporation and Nokia. Johnson started her career as an engineer at Apple in the 1990s.

“Susan is a transformational leader with the vision and experience to build on the brand equity that a storied company like Prudential already enjoys,” Prudential chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey said in a statement.

As CMO at Prudential, Johnson will report jointly to Andy Sullivan, the company’s head of U.S. businesses and Scott Sleyster, head of international businesses. She’ll be tasked with leading Prudential’s global marketing and brand strategy and help drive profitable growth for the company.

Johnson “understands how to drive business impact by deepening existing relationships while forging new connections with future customers,” Sullivan said in a statement, adding that she “knows how to weave together insights, creative storytelling and advanced analytics in ways that motivate people to take action.”

Sleyster added in a statement that Johnson’s experience doing business across several regions and markets—and especially Japan—will be a particular asset to the brand’s international businesses.

Agarwal, who joined the company in 2015 as chief customer officer, has served as CMO since April 2019. In his new role as chief market development officer, Agarwal will focus on fostering Prudential’s U.S. growth through adjacent business ecosystems and partnerships.

Agarwal and Johnson will assume their new positions on Oct. 5.

@klundster Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.