As much of the talk around Airbnb right now relates to a possible IPO, it's odd to see a C-level exec depart at this stage in the company's lifespan.
Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall will leave the company on October 20. Mildenhall has plans to start his own marketing consulting firm, according to a statement released by the company.
Mildenhall will remain in an advisory role as Airbnb selects his successor, as well as help onboard Wieden & Kennedy, the company’s new creative agency.
“When I look back over my three years at Airbnb,” Mildenhall said in his statement, “I realize that I’ve accomplished what I set out to achieve. We’ve created a beloved, mission-driven brand that has helped create phenomenal value.”
He added later, “Whilst working at Airbnb I have produced the finest body of work of my career.”
The company also released a statement from co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky in which he praised Mildenhall. “I’ll never forget the smile that brimmed from Jonathan’s face when we gave him this challenge. Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that Jonathan led us well up the mountaintop.”
Mildenhall joined Airbnb from Coca-Cola in June 2014 as the brand was experiencing its first burst of growth. He oversaw the company’s Belong Anywhere campaign, which was the focus of its first Super Bowl commercial as well as a global campaign that translated the message of inclusiveness into multiple languages.
Throughout his tenure at Airbnb, Mildenhall evangelized the concept of Airbnb being a “iconic, community-driven superbrand,” as he described it at Airbnb’s 2015 event in Paris, on the level of a McDonalds or Coca-Cola.’
You can watch Mildenhall in discussion with Skift CEO Rafat Ali at the 2015 Skift Global Forum.
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Photo credit: Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall (right) speaking with Skift CEO Rafat Ali at Skift Global Forum in New York in 2015. Skift