Stephen Graham is one of Canada’s most awarded marketing and transformational business leaders, recognized for bringing passion, inspiration, game changing innovation and a trademark sense of humanity to everything he does.
As a graduate of Queen’s Commerce, he joined Procter & Gamble because it offered him the opportunity to manage businesses quickly. In addition to pushing brands to record shares at P&G he introduced the next global CEO to the idea of buying a competitor, Oil of Olay, to better meet the skincare needs of an increasingly aging population. A few years later P&G actually did, building Olay into one of their most valuable franchises globally.
By the age of 26, Stephen was leading the Coca-Cola brand during through cola wars, defeating the Pepsi Challenge in Canada and then dramatically growing their corporate share by rapidly growing new diet and caffeine free versions.
At 32, he became President of Scali, McCabe, Sloves with clients like Labatt, Purina, Cadbury, Hertz and Mercedes, creating work and partnerships that would earn it ‘Agency of the Year’ honours with the headline “A salute to an agency who has re-fashioned itself for the results conscious decade”.
In 1996 Stephen was recruited to the U.S. to lead marketing efforts for AT&T at the height of the telecom wars and beginning of the digital communications revolution, managing a budget in excess of $1 billion. After achieving a decisive victory in the long distance wars, with the creation and launch of the simplified AT&T One Rate, he then helped drive AT&T to national leadership in the burgeoning Wireless market with the launch of the innovative AT&T Digital One Rate program, becoming the first to eliminate roaming and long charges.
For its’ “It’s All Within Your Reach” campaign AT&T was awarded the Gold Effie for the Best Corporate Brand Campaign globally in 1998 and by 2000 Stephen had been selected as the #1 global Marketer by Ad Age in its annual ranking of the Power 50.
Stephen was recruited back to Canada in 2002 to become EVP of Retail & Small Banking & corporate CMO of CIBC. Over four years he led a major transformation of their marketing, branch design, products and services, and CIBC brand with the emotive “For What Matters” campaign. In 2006, Stephen joined Rogers as its first CMO and Chief Convergence Officer, to help further build the Rogers brand and its leadership in the converging world of Wireless, Cable, Internet and Home communication & entertainment services. Through the creation of “Canada’s Most Reliable Network” effort, new & bundled offerings, a renewed Rogers brand and innovative sponsorship & entertainment deals, Rogers extended its leadership in both communications and content – significantly growing the value of the business.
Most recently, Stephen has led Maple Leaf as CMO, post recall crisis, through a major rebuild and transformation of its brands, overseeing all marketing and innovation efforts across their Canadian, US and UK businesses. Citing the successful brand re-launches, multiple ‘new product of the year‘ awards and innovative digital and social media efforts, Maple Leaf was chosen Canada’s 2011 “Marketer of the Year” by Marketing Magazine. In the 2014 Leger Corporate Reputation ranking, the Maple Leaf brand (supported by the powerful “Feeding the Country” campaign) moved up a further 33 places, putting it now just one place behind Apple.
Impressively, during Stephen’s tenure helping to build AT&T, CIBC, Rogers and Maple Leaf, the share value of each company doubled.
Beyond his business accomplishments, Stephen has also given back generously to the industry and the community, by serving on the Board of the ANA in the U.S. and the ICA in Canada, as a Founding Director & Chair of Kids Help Phone, as Chair of Prostate Cancer Canada (Movember), as President of the Donalda Club and as an ongoing mentor with the MHOL program.