Mass media holding company Gannett announced today that it has created a new executive leadership role, chief marketing and strategy officer, to lead the organization’s direct-to-consumer and business-to-business endeavors as it transforms into a subscription-led content generator.
Mayur Gupta, former CMO of Freshly and vp of growth and marketing at Spotify, has been appointed Gannett’s first CMSO. In this position, Gupta will not only continue Gannett’s mission to build trusted local communities as it continuously evolves in a digital economy, but he will also lead the company’s marketing and growth functions.
Gupta has served as a member of the Gannett board of directors since last October, and will resign in conjunction with his hiring. He will begin in the newly created role Sept. 8.
“Mayur has a strong track record as a growth and content marketer at big CPGs like Kimberly Clark as well as disruptive startups like Spotify and Freshly that have reshaped their categories,” said Michael Reed, chairman and CEO of Gannett, in a statement. “His experience building content-driven subscription models and his ability to execute on a vision and strategy with speed and agility align well with our goals for this role. In addition, given his board service he has intimate knowledge of the company following our recent acquisition.”
“Over the last year serving on Gannett’s board, I have witnessed two companies come together for a common mission and purpose to empower these local communities. I feel honored for this opportunity to lean into Gannett’s future as a digital content leader and contribute my experience to an already dynamic legacy,” Gupta added in the statement.
Gupta, a computer science engineer-turned-marketer, exclusively told Adweek that transitioning from STEM to marketing was more accidental (and coincidental) than a purposeful drastic career change. He came from his homeland of India to Phoenix in 2001 to work as a senior Java developer at SapientNitro, and later a Lead Java/J2EE Architect in Tampa. The big pivot came in 2006: “I was fortunate enough to be asked to become a product lead for a platform SapientNitro purchased, AdTech Platforms,” Gupta said, “and that is how my first ambition evolved from technology to marketing and advertising.”
Many of the skills Gupta acquired from those years at SapientNitro have been transferrable throughout his more than two decades driving digital transformation and scaled growth at numerous companies and organizations. When Gupta was the vp for growth and marketing at Spotify from 2016 to 2019, he established a growth machinery for Spotify’s multisided marketplace—an algorithm that connects artists with fans through programmatic discovery and accessibility.
As Gannett’s CMSO, Gupta will manage the connection between data, technology and storytelling to deliver original content through myriad digital platforms and emerging technologies (as well as live events) to an audience of roughly 175 million online visitors monthly from the United States and the United Kingdom. Currently, Gannett’s portfolio of publishers and digital marketing businesses includes the USA Today Network, local media organizations in 46 states and Guam, Newsquest, ReachLocal, UpCurve and WordStream (formerly GateHouse Live).
Gupta is aware that he’s joining the media business at a precarious time (Gannett did not pay workers making more than $38,000 for one week per month through June as a direct result of losing ad revenue due to Covid-19), but he’s not wary.
“There’s no question that the role of media has shifted dramatically,” Gupta said, “but these companies play a massive role, a very critical role, in our society today. The future of consumer demand and the future of the industry is going to be how we leverage data in innovation and technology. But what has not changed for us has been our mission around building trust in local communities.”