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Amex Marketing Executive Tops Twitter CMO List

Leslie Berland is well regarded in Silicon Valley for her tech effort at card giant Amex.

Anna Webber / Getty

It’s a woman. She is from a major brand company. The hire will report directly to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

So far, that is the person who sources said was going to be named the new CMO of Twitter this week, possibly as early as tomorrow.

And, after Sherlocking all day, sources tell me that the most likely exec to be named to that high-profile (and thankless) job as early as tomorrow could be Leslie Berland. She is currently EVP of global advertising, marketing and digital partnerships at American Express.

Twitter did not even bother to call back on this one, which I understand after the day of strafing their poor PR department got from Re/code.

Well, sorry, but incoming!

While it might not turn out to be Berland, since it is not clear if the job has been locked down or not, she has been at the top of Twitter’s list of candidates.

Interestingly, in a rookie move, she recently followed a range of execs at the San Francisco social communications company, including Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde (my brother is a lawyer too, Leslie, and I don’t follow him!). Berland also recently followed Dorsey’s mother on Twitter.

While this is not proof, obviously, a number of other sources told me Berland is the one expected to be selected if she wanted the job.

In any case, a top marketing hire is expected soon, since the search has been going on for a while, off and on. It has taken new urgency of late, given the importance of consumer growth at Twitter and the need to make it seem more relevant to users.

Twitter wants a brand exec in that place, rather than someone who works at an agency, because such a person has to “own” a brand and Dorsey wants someone to be committed to that who also understands product.

Along with Berland, some others whom Twitter has interviewed include Nickelodeon CMO Pam Kaufman, who just re-upped at that Viacom unit. Another exec who talked seriously to Twitter some months ago was former Samsung mobile marketing exec Todd Pendleton, although he was not in the recent search.

Berland has been at Amex since 2005, in a variety of jobs there from corporate communications to social media strategy to digital partnerships and development. She also has been at the forefront of its digital efforts, including striking important deals between Amex and Uber, and is well known in Silicon Valley — and well liked, too.

One issue that might be raised is that she comes from a traditional marketing background, and many think Twitter requires a more out-of-the-box thinker in that job.

By the way, Amex has an impressive roster of women marketing execs I had to sift through all day, including Susan McBride, Andrea Zaretsky, Stella Zinger Sanchez and Eva Reda.

Sources said whoever is selected will have communications reporting to them and a new PR head is likely to follow. Also coming on board soon, though perhaps not this week, are new board members, as Re/code reported earlier today.

Also confirmed in a gallant tantrum of a tweet by Dorsey was Re/code reporting on a series of departures at Twitter, including media head Katie Jacobs Stanton, product head Kevin Weil and engineering head Alex Roetter. Also departing is top HR exec Skip Schipper, said Dorsey, who noted that they all “chose to leave.”

Like I said, gallant, complete with side order of blame-the-media.

This article originally appeared on

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