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July, 2024

Lisa Ronson rejoins Australian CMO ranks, takes up Medibank chief marketing post

More than 12 months on from switching out of her CMO posting at Coles, one-time Tourism Australia and Westpac marketing leader, Lisa Ronson, is returning to the marketing leadership fold in the top marketing gig at Medibank.

Ronson told Mi3 while a number of offers had come her way, “nothing had been right until now”. Ronson’s appointment was announced to staff last night.

“I’m so looking forward to joining the team. It ticked my three boxes of great people, great culture and great purpose,” she said.

Ronson is indirectly replacing Fiona Le Broq, who Mi3 understands left in May after nearly nine years with the group. For the last three of those years, Le Broq was senior executive of brand, marketing and customer experience.

Medibank group lead and chief customer offer, Milosh Milisavljevic welcomed Ronson onboard. Ronson will report to Milisavljevic, who gained an expanded executive leadership team role last July covering both Medibank and ahm brands as well as marketing, customer channels, portfolios, Live Better and diversified insurance. He was previously group executive of customer portfolios.

“Lisa’s extensive experience and track record in building strong consumer brands and leading high-performing teams will be invaluable as we continue to enhance our customer engagement and drive growth,” he said in an internal statement sighted by Mi3. “Her creativity and leadership will undoubtedly help us achieve our goals. Welcome to the team, Lisa.”

Prior to Coles, Ronson was CMO of Tourism Australia for four years. Her career has criss-crossed a number of categories include financial services (GM of brand and advertising, Westpac; marketing director ANZ, Visa), retail (GM marketing, David Jones) telecoms (head of marketing services, Telstra) and FMCG (senior brand manager, Fosters at Carlton & United Breweries).

Ronson has also held several non-executive, director and board positions including director at Wheelchair Rugby Australia, board member at Great Walks of Australia and Global Banking Alliance for Women. She’s additionally been engaged in academic advising to Deakin Business School’s MBA program.

Rebuilding the Medibank brand

The job to do at Medibank is not necessarily going to be an easy one. While strong from a financial perspective, Medibank has work ahead to rebuild its brand reputation and remains in a legal dispute with Australia’s information commissioner following a cybersecurity attack of October 2022 that saw the personal data of 9.7 million customers exposed.

As part of an ongoing Federal Court case instigated by the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) against Medibank, the commissioner has alleged Medibank was aware of significant shortcomings in its cybersecurity practices and information security frameworks well before the major data breach occurred. In a scathing, concise statement made publicly available in June, the OAIC said Medibank’s failure to take reasonable steps commensurate with protecting the personal and sensitive information it held exposed that information to the risk of misuse, unauthorised access and/or disclosure.

While the case continues, Medibank has been responding to the dour economic climate with a series of customer cashback offers for Medibank and ahm members. In May, the ASX-listed group confirmed it had extended the pot of money being shared to $305 million via cashbacks. In total, $1.46bn is being provided back to customers since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In its most recent half-yearly report to 31 December 2023, Medibank reported $262.5m underlying net profit, up by 16.3 per cent year-on-year, on group revenue of $3.89 billion, a 3.3 per cent increase.

Le Broq meanwhile, has not yet confirmed her plans post-Medibank. Outside of her nine years with the health insurer, her resume includes senior client-side marketing and brand roles with Seek and National Australia Bank. Prior to this, Le Broq was on agency side, working as an account director for agencies including DDB Melbourne, JWT Melbourne and M&C Saatchi, as well as head of strategy planning for Spinach Advertising.