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ESPN Names Coca-Cola Executive Carol Kruse New SVP-Marketing

September 29, 2010: ESPN said that Carol Kruse, a global brand marketing executive with more than 20 years of experience, has been appointed as the new svp-marketing. She takes over the position on Oct. 25.

Kruse had been with The Coca-Cola Co. for nine years, the last three years as vp-global interactive marketing. ESPN said that Kruse would report to Sean Bratches, evp-sales and marketing, and be based in the company’s New York office.

The position had been vacant since January. Katie Lacey had been svp-marketing at ESPN from 2005 until late last year. Her contract was not renewed due after her relationship with ESPN vp-program planning and strategy David Berson was publicized. Lacey and Berson married this past August.

ESPN said that Kruse would be responsible for "developing and managing all aspects of the ESPN brand including domestic television, broadband, digital, mobile, radio and print media assets, as well as building upon the company’s award-winning creative,"  including the long-running “This Is SportsCenter” campaign. She also will work on strategic marketing focusing on ESPN’s social networking strategies.

“Carol Kruse possesses both a proven record of success helping to build a major global brand and a demonstrated ability to innovate and lead in the digital space to maximize brand strength and growth," Bratches said in a statement. "We welcome Carol to the company and will look to her to lead the ESPN brand into the future.”

Landon Donovan starred in a recent 'This Is SportsCenter" spot, now being overseen by Kruse.Kruse joined Coca-Cola North America in 2001 when the beverage giant acquired her company RocketCash, which handled online payments and consumer promotions. Among other roles, Kruse and her team developed the “My Coke Rewards” loyalty and relationship marketing-program, which debuted in 2006 and currently boasts more than 14 million members, per ESPN.

According to Kruse, “I have had a great nine years at Coca-Cola and now look eagerly to this new opportunity to steward the leading global sports brand, ESPN. I am passionate about sports and what ESPN represents to sports fans; I look forward to engaging them further."

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