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Major League Soccer Hires Chief Marketing Officer

J. Russell Findlay will join Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing as chief marketing officer.

He previously served as vice president of marketing for Town Sports International and spent 20 years with PepsiCo and Unilever before taking that position.

“I am pleased to welcome Russ Findlay to the MLS family,” league commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Russ has 20 years of strategic brand marketing and sales experience and brings to our League and sport a great passion for the game. His expertise in understanding consumers and knowing how to reach them is an excellent fit for our business.”

The full release after the jump.J. Russell Findlay Named Chief Marketing Officer of Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing

NEW YORK (Thursday, January 20, 2011) – Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced today that J. Russell Findlay has been named Chief Marketing Officer of Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing (SUM), MLS’ commercial subsidiary. In his new position, Findlay will be responsible for all marketing, branding and consumer understanding initiatives.

Most recently, Findlay was vice president of marketing for Town Sports International, the umbrella company for one of the largest global health club companies, with locations throughout the United States and Europe.

Findlay is a 20-year marketing veteran of PepsiCo and Unilever. With eight years spent in various high-ranking positions in marketing and brand management for PepsiCo, Findlay served as director of marketing for all soft drink innovation. Prior to that, Findlay was director of marketing on brand Pepsi and was responsible for launching Diet Pepsi Max. Before brand Pepsi, Findlay was vice president of field marketing for Pepsi Bottling Group, where he helped restructure and re-launch the department.

“I am pleased to welcome Russ Findlay to the MLS family,” said Garber. “Russ has 20 years of strategic brand marketing and sales experience and brings to our League and sport a great passion for the game. His expertise in understanding consumers and knowing how to reach them is an excellent fit for our business.”

Prior to his role at Pepsi Bottling Group, Findlay, 45, helped launch and subsequently ran the $1 billion Sierra Mist brand. He had integral involvement in notable Sierra Mist marketing elements including brand positioning, sports sponsorship strategy and advertising and media strategy. Findlay started with PepsiCo in innovation prior to moving to PepsiCo acquisition South Beach Beverages (SoBe) to launch and run Mr. Green, SoBe’s first soft drink. While working on advertising and media for the various brands he managed, Findlay oversaw numerous Super Bowl advertising campaigns, two of which won EFFIE awards for effective advertising.

Prior to PepsiCo, Findlay began his career at Unilever as a territory sales representative. He progressed through various sales, innovation and marketing roles of increasing responsibility during his 10 years with Unilever. By the end of his tenure at Unilever, Findlay’s experiences had included sales management, category management, innovation, digital media, consumer promotion, interactive marketing and trade marketing.

“I am honored that Major League Soccer has entrusted me with this exciting opportunity,” said Findlay, a certified U.S. Soccer referee and active soccer player. “This position uniquely blends my professional experience with my personal passion for soccer. I look forward to joining the MLS/SUM team and building upon the League’s strong foundation to better serve and expand our fan base and our clubs.”

Findlay holds an M.B.A. from Xavier University and a B.S. in marketing from the State University of New York at Oswego. He resides in Connecticut with his wife and three children.

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