Jonathan Mildenhall, a marketing veteran with nearly three decades of experience leading teams for both multinational brands and firms, and a fervent champion for diversity in the advertising space, has been appointed as challenger bank Dave’s first CMO. In the newly created position, Mildenhall will serve the company by overseeing its marketing and growth initiatives, expanding its reach to help U.S. consumers build credit and avoid overdraft fees. He will also work closely with the product department to optimize user experience of the fin-tech app.
“Dave gives its customers the financial fluidity they need to navigate life’s ups and downs. It’s more than an app—Dave is a stepping stone to new beginnings,” Mildenhall said in a statement. “I feel incredibly lucky to be able to practice what I preach on the inside of Dave and continue to serve my clients as Chair of 21CB on the outside. It’s a natural extension of our consultancy’s mission to create the most influential brands of our time.”
According to the statement, Mildenhall’s care for the financial health of Dave’s customers is rooted in his own life experience dealing with monetary woes. He was born in a project in North England and was the first in his family to graduate college and the first minority to become a graduate trainee at creative agency McCann. While living in London, he was also a trustee of His Royal Highness Prince of Wales’ Arts and Business Trust.
Since 1993, Mildenhall has held numerous marketing-adjacent leadership positions, including serving as the managing director of TBWA in London for four years, vp of global advertising strategy and content excellence for Coca-Cola in Atlanta for six years, and CMO of Airbnb in San Francisco for four years. Adweek distinguished Mildenhall in 2016 as a Brand Genius for hospitality for his work for the vacation rentals company. Mildenhall will continue to serve as a non-executive director on Everlane’s board and as chair of his co-founded brand consultancy, TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, which he launched in 2018 shortly after exiting Airbnb. His co-founder, Neal Barrie, has been promoted to the role of global CEO at the firm.