The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has formed a new leadership team and elected Mastercard’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Raja Rajamannar, as its new President. He will serve a two-year term as WFA President, with the option to extend for a further two years.
He replaces David Wheldon, CMO at RBS, who has been president since 2015. Mr Wheldon will continue to serve on WFA’s Executive Committee as Regional Vice-President for Western Europe.
Mr Rajamannar has worked for Mastercard since 2013, and in particular has led the company’s marketing transformation, including the integration of the Marketing and Communication functions, evolution of its Priceless experiential platform, and creation of cutting-edge marketing-led business models into the core of the company. Recently Raja pioneered Mastercard’s move to become a symbol brand and the launch of its breakthrough sonic brand platform. He also serves as President of Mastercard’s Healthcare Division in addition to his role as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.
With more than 30 years of experience as a global executive across multiple industries, previous roles include Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, WellPoint (now Anthem, Inc.); Chief Executive, International and Chief Innovation & Marketing Officer, Humana; Global Chief Marketing Officer, Cards and Payments, Citigroup; and CEO of Diners Club North America. Raja started his career with Asian Paints in India. He was also the winner of the 2018 WFA Global Marketer of the Year award.
“The opportunity in front of marketers today to make a difference for their brand, their business and even the world is tremendous. I am honored to pick up and carry the torch as President of WFA, an organization committed to elevating and advancing the activities of our profession, and a role I am convinced will become even more important in the years to come,” said Mr Rajamannar.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Raja as our new President. He’s one of the very best in the business and his work at Mastercard demonstrates how marketers can deliver unrivalled business and social impact when they’re at the top of their game,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of WFA, adding, “I’d also like to thank David for his invaluable service as President. He is nothing short of a giant in the global marketing industry and he has helped lift the organization to another level in terms of its relevance to CMOs, its strategic focus and its global expansion. We’re delighted he’s agreed to stay on our Executive Committee and help steer the organization through future challenges.”
The Deputy President role has been attributed to Philip Myers, Senior Vice-President, Global Policy and Government Affairs at PepsiCo, who takes over from Matthias Berninger, former Vice-President, Public Affairs at Mars.
Mr Myers leads PepsiCo’s government and stakeholder relations. Previously, he oversaw public policy and communications across the company’s Europe Sub-Saharan Africa business and before that led the European Retail Round Table, which brought together Europe’s leading retailers on public policy issues. His appointment reflects the dual nature of WFA’s mission working with both marketers to ensure marketing effectiveness and policy professionals to protect brands’ license to operate.
The new President, Deputy President and Regional Vice-President roles are part of a wider change in WFA’s leadership team which also includes a number of new executive committee members.
These include Jean-Luc Chétrit, CEO, French Advertisers Association (UDA) & WFA Treasurer; Edward Bell, General Manager Brand, Insight and Marketing Communications, Cathay Pacific Airways; Adam Mohamed Wee Abdullah, Group Chief Marketing Officer, CIMB; Valérie Hernando-Presse, Chief Marketing Officer, Danone; Gerhard Louw, Head of International Media Management, Deutsche Telekom; Allyson Park, Global Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Mars; Francesco Tramontin, Director, Global Public Affairs, Mondelez; Lynette Pang, Assistant Chief Executive, Marketing Group, Singapore Tourism Board; Atul Agrawal, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Brand and Marketing, Tata and Jan Morten Drange, CEO, Association of Norwegian Advertisers (ANFO).
“It’s always gratifying that so many senior marketers are willing to serve on WFA’s committees and forums. We couldn’t do half the work we do without these vital contributions and the wisdom of so many senior marketers and policy professionals is critical in identifying upcoming issues and potential solutions to the many challenges faced by brands today,” commented Mr Loerke.