English football can only succeed by embracing 'marketing philosophy' says FA CEO Martin Glenn

Martin Glenn, the Football Association chief executive and outgoing president of the Marketing Society, said English football must embrace the philosophy of marketing as he announced he was stepping down from the Society after three years.

Glenn: stepping down as Marketing Society president
Glenn: stepping down as Marketing Society president

His successor and the new Marketing Society president, Syl Saller, Diageo chief marketing officer was announced later during yesterday's event.

"The only way the English football and England is going to succeed in the heavily globalised world, where every country in the planet is playing football, is to open up and learn and embrace the philosophy of marketing," he said.

In a reference to his recent ‘trials’ at the FA, Glenn said, "the truth about making life uncomfortable has never been truer than ever before. I have learnt life is not a picnic, and we have to build our leadership skills and capitalise on it."

The former CEO at United Biscuits and a former Cadbury and Mars marketer, Glenn joined the FA last year as its new chief executive.

"I have always told people to get out of their comfort zone, and that is what I did when I took the FA job. Or it was probably during a mid life crisis," he laughed. Since his time at the FA, English football has been rocked by a steady wave of controversies — including the national team's humiliating Euro 2016 exit, the scandal surrounding former manager Sam Allardyce, and the more recent review of the powers and remit of its integrity unit. 

Addressing the marketers, Glenn said his three years as president at the Marketing Society were spent trying to encourage more marketers to run companies as chief executives: "As marketers you should not only be seen as people who spend the money but also as those who can make money."

The outgoing chief executive of the Marketing Society, Hugh Burkitt, last night paid a tribute to Glenn’s work and efforts at the Society and added how marketing is clearly demonstrating its value to business and society. Burkitt added that in 2011 just 11% of chief executives had a marketing background and the figure has now escalated to almost 25%.

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