Badass brand guru Bozoma Saint John, who has made her mark at global companies like PepsiCo, Apple, and Uber, is joining the Hollywood entertainment, events, and talent company Endeavor as its chief marketing officer. The move brings more star power to Endeavor, which started as a traditional Hollywood agency but is now a multimedia empire run by Ari Emanuel. This move is the latest in Emanuel’s mission to upend the traditional entertainment business by empowering talent to create and control its own content.
Saint John tells Fast Company that in her new role, she would work to “connect” the various “storylines” of Endeavor “so we can be a more powerful movement.” Besides representing stars such as Mark Wahlberg and Oprah through its talent agency, Endeavor oversees a wide array of brands and companies including the sports and events agency IMG; sports leagues such as UFC and Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; and the art organization Frieze.
“I feel like the last two decades has really prepared me for this,” Saint John says. “I’ve been able to work across portfolios and connect storylines together. This is another moment to do that.”
Saint John is the rare marketing exec who’s a star in her own right. In 2016 as an Apple exec, she won won over the crowd at the WWDC when she strutted onstage to unveil an Apple Music overhaul and got the (mostly white, male) room to jam out to “Rapper’s Delight.” At Apple, she also came up with popular ad campaigns for Apple Music, such as the 2015 commercial starring Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington, and Taraji P. Henson. In her first major marketing job, at Pepsi, she orchestrated the halftime show that Pepsi sponsored at the Super Bowl featuring Beyoncé.
“I’ve been touting the importance of pop culture and what it means throughout my career,” Saint John says, “whether it was with Pepsi, Apple, or Uber. I’ve always been saying that. Now I actually get to be in the middle of it. Before I was working from the outside in. Now I can work from the inside out.”
A tall, striking African American, Saint John also said that at Endeavor she would “help to elevate the stories of women and people of color. Both in the work as well as in the culture.”
Her goal, she said, was to “leverage and create this larger narrative about change in the world today.”