Bozoma "Boz" Saint John (née Arthur) is an American businessperson and marketing executive who was the chief marketing officer (CMO) at Netflix. Previously, she served as CMO at Endeavor, and chief brand officer (CBO) at Uber until June 2018. Saint John was also a marketing executive at Apple Music until June 2017, after joining the company in its acquisition of Beats Music. From 2005 until 2014 she worked at PepsiCo, eventually serving as the head of music and entertainment marketing. In May 2021, she was named among the Top 50 Most Influential Female Leaders in Africa within the corporate and business sphere by Leading Ladies Africa.
Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma A. Arthur
|Education||Wesleyan University (BA)|
Peter Saint John
(m. 2003; died 2013)
Early life edit
Saint John was born to Rev. Dr. Appianda Arthur and Aba Arthur (née Enim) in Middletown, Connecticut in the United States. The family moved to Ghana when she was six months old. In her early childhood, her family also lived in Nairobi, Kenya and Washington, D.C. They returned to the United States and settled in Colorado Springs, Colorado when she was 12. Her father was a clarinet player and member of the Ghana Army before emigrating to the United States to attend graduate school. Saint John cites her father as her biggest inspiration.
In 1999, Saint John graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in English and African-American studies. Her father received a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology in 1977, also from Wesleyan.
After college, Saint John worked at the advertising agencies Arnold Worldwide and Spike Lee's Spike DDB. She also worked at the fashion brand Ashley Stewart, where she was vice president of marketing.
Saint John joined PepsiCo as a senior marketing manager in 2005. She later led PepsiCo's foray into music festival-based marketing as head of music and entertainment marketing. She remained with the company for almost a decade before joining Beats Music in 2014, when Jimmy Iovine of Beats recruited Saint John based on her experience in music marketing. Saint John moved from New York to Los Angeles to lead marketing for the company.
Beats was purchased shortly thereafter by Apple, and Saint John became the head of global consumer marketing for iTunes and Apple Music, commuting between Los Angeles and Apple's Cupertino headquarters several times a week. Journalists described Saint John's presentation of the redesigned Apple Music onstage during the 2016 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference as her breakthrough moment, with a captivating "passion" and persona that captivated both local and online audiences. Biz Carson of Business Insider said that her appearance helped to emphasize Apple's complete rebuild of its Apple Music software. BuzzFeed wrote that she was the "coolest" person to ever take the stage at an Apple keynote.
On June 6, 2017, Saint John became chief brand officer at Uber.
In June 2018, Saint John left Uber to join Endeavor as chief marketing officer. She said of her choice to leave: "When I got to Uber I was honest in my desire to go and change essentially what I thought was a challenging environment, especially for women and for people of colour... What I discovered was a lot of people who had a desire to do better, honestly, but couldn't get out of their own way... At some point it became too overwhelming for me... It became a good lesson for all of us: You don't need to be the savior, you can save yourself too." While at Endeavor, Saint John helped lead a "crisis" branding project for Papa John's Pizza after the company's founder, John Schnatter, used racist language in a conference call.
Netflix named Saint John its new chief marketing officer on June 30, 2020, making her the third CMO for the company in 2019–2020. She was the first Black C-level executive at Netflix. Saint John replaced Jackie Lee-Joe, who left the company for personal reasons. Saint John started the new role in August 2020 and departed in March 2022.
Writing and podcasting edit
In May 2020, Saint John launched a limited-series iHeart Media podcast alongside journalist Katie Couric, "Back to Biz with Katie and Boz". The podcast began with the focus of how small and large businesses across the country began to reopen throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but after the murder of George Floyd expanded to focus also on systemic racism and criminal justice reform.
Saint John wrote a memoir titled The Urgent Life, in which she describes her work as a marketing executive, losing her husband, and becoming a single parent. Publication date is February 21, 2023, by Viking Press.
Other work edit
Activism, advising, and philanthropy edit
Saint John launched the #ShareTheMicNow Instagram initiative alongside Luvvie Ajayi, Glennon Doyle, and Stacey Bendet. On June 10, 2020, 52 Black women took over the Instagram feeds of 52 white women with large platforms to draw attention to the work they're doing in order to catalyze change. Saint John took over the Instagram account of prominent Black women including Elaine Welteroth, Angelica Ross, Christine Michel Carter, and Gia Peppers took over the accounts of white women including Julia Roberts, Elizabeth Warren, and Diane von Fürstenberg.
Saint John's philanthropic efforts include representing Pencils of Promise as a Global Ambassador to Ghana and serving on the boards of Girls Who Code and Vital Voices. Saint John has been a member of the President's Advisory Council for Wesleyan University, her alma mater. She is also a member of the Black Advisory Board for Impact, an initiative by the Council of Fashion Designers of America to address systematic exclusion of Black people in the fashion industry.
Personal life edit
Awards and honors edit
- 2015: Billboard, Top Women in Music
- 2016: Billboard, Female Executive of the Year
- 2016: Fortune, 40 Under 40
- 2017: Henry Crown Fellow in the Aspen Institute
- Ad Age, 50 Most Creative People, Innovators & Stars 40 Under 40 feature
- Adweek, Most Exciting Personalities in Advertising
- Ebony, 100 Powerful Executives
- Fast Company, 100 Most Creative People
- Fortune, Disruptors
- Top 100 Most Inspirational Women of the Year by Glitz Africa Magazine
- "Bozoma Saint John". Computer History Museum. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 30, 2020). "Bozoma Saint John Named Netflix Chief Marketing Officer; Leaves Endeavor". Deadline. Archived from the original on June 30, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Littleton, Cynthia (June 25, 2020). "Katie Couric, Bozoma Saint John Team for 'Uncomfortable' Conversations on 'Back to Biz' Podcast". Variety. Archived from the original on June 25, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- "Vodafone CEO, Director of Digital Transformation make list of 50 most influential corporate women in Africa - MyJoyOnline.com". www.myjoyonline.com. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
- "Ghana news: Bentsifi's Tattle, A guy about town". Graphic. June 17, 2016.
- Carson, Biz (June 13, 2016). "Meet Bozoma Saint John, the Apple executive who stole the show at WWDC". Yahoo! Finance.
- "Bozoma Saint John". Netflix Investors. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Rockwell, Cynthia (April 25, 2016). "Apple Music's Saint John '99 Recalls Formative Wes Moments in WesFest Keynote". News @ Wesleyan. Wesleyan University.
- Drake, Olivia (April 18, 2016). "Class of 2020 Explores Wesleyan during 3-Day WesFest Celebration". News @ Wesleyan. Wesleyan University.
- Harrison, Olivia (June 13, 2016). "Who Is The Woman Who Rocked Apple's Keynote?". Refinery29.
- Doyle, Glennon (May 24, 2022). "We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle" (Podcast).
- Naftalin, Julia (February 8, 2022). "A lawyer quit her corporate job to become a self-taught 'death doula' who helps people die". Business Insider.
- Aswad, Jem (June 6, 2017). "Bozoma Saint John Talks About Her New Role at Uber: 'I Consider Myself a Change Agent'". Variety.
- McGonagle, Emmet (July 1, 2020). "Netflix appoints Bozoma Saint John as CMO". Campaign Asia. Archived from the original on July 1, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Trakin, Roy (April 2, 2014). "Former Pepsi Exec Bozoma Saint John Named Beats Music Global Marketing Head". The Hollywood Reporter.
- McBride, Kiah (March 5, 2017). "Bozoma Saint John: Why This Apple Music Exec Is A Badass Boss". xoNecole.
- Clark Thompson, Ashlee (June 13, 2016). "Breakout star of Apple's WWDC 2016 Bozoma "Boz" Saint John calls out developers for lack of rhythm". CNET.
- Weatherford, Ashley (June 13, 2016). "A Black Woman Spoke at Apple's Tech Conference and Twitter Went Wild". New York The Cut.
- Opam, Kwame (June 13, 2016). "Apple's Bozoma Saint John is my hero". The Verge.
- Misener, Jessica (June 13, 2016). "Bozoma St. John Is The Coolest Person To Ever Go Onstage At An Apple Event". BuzzFeed.
- "Bozoma Saint John is leaving Uber for Endeavor". Recode. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
- "He told Bozoma Saint John to work for Uber. "Of course, I hung up on him."". Fast Company. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
- Aiello, Chloe (June 11, 2018). "Turnaround executive Bozoma Saint John leaves Uber for Endeavor". CNBC. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- Miller, Jeff (March 13, 2019). "Bozoma Saint John Explains Why She Left Uber". Variety. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- Valinsky, Jordan (August 2, 2018). "Papa John's to pizza-eaters: We're listening". CNNMoney. Archived from the original on August 2, 2018. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Beer, Jeff (July 7, 2020). "Netflix is missing one big thing. It just added it with its new superstar hire". Fast Company. Archived from the original on July 8, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- "Netflix names Bozoma Saint John its new CMO". adage.com. June 30, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- Connley, Courtney (February 1, 2021). "23 Black leaders who are shaping history today". CNBC. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- "Bozoma Saint John Departs As Netflix Chief Marketing Officer". forbes.com. March 3, 2022. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
- Lockwood, Lisa (December 11, 2020). "Bozoma Saint John's Memoir, 'The Urgent Life,' to Be Published by Viking". WWD. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Saint John, Bozoma (February 21, 2023). The Urgent Life. Viking. ISBN 9780593300176.
- Mehta, Stephanie (November 12, 2020). "Professor Badass? Bozoma Saint John to lead a Harvard B-School workshop on authenticity". Fast Company. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Howard, Nandi (June 17, 2020). "Bozoma Saint John And Luvvie Ajayi Jones Detail The #ShareTheMicNow Initiative". Essence. Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Moore, McKenna (June 10, 2020). "Why black women are taking over white women's Instagram accounts today". Fortune. Archived from the original on June 13, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Walsh, Savannah (June 9, 2020). "Why Black Activists & Celebrities Are Taking Over White Influencers' Instagram Handles". Elle. Archived from the original on June 9, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Shafer, Ellise (June 9, 2020). "Celebrities Hand Over Instagram Accounts to Women of Color for #ShareTheMicNow Campaign". Variety. Archived from the original on June 10, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Beer, Jeff (December 3, 2019). "Why Endeavor CMO Bozoma Saint John is joining Pencils of Promise as its Ghana ambassador". Fast Company. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Liao, Shannon (August 24, 2017). "Uber partners with Girls Who Code to fight for greater diversity in tech". The Verge. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- "Bozoma Saint John". Vital Voices. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
- Sergison, Darcey (February 22, 2021). "CFDA Announces New Initiative to Nurture Black and Brown Talent". The Business of Fashion. Archived from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Zeng, Julian (April 18, 2022). "AMA New York Announces 2022 Marketing Hall of Fame Inductees". American Marketing Association.
- "Peter Saint John". Burkitt's Lymphoma Society. October 23 – December 12, 2013. Archived from the original on June 9, 2017.
- "In Memory of Peter Saint John – Obituary". Walter B. Cooke Funeral Home. December 11, 2013.
- "Women In Music 2015: The 50 Most Powerful Executives in the Industry". Billboard. December 3, 2016.
- Halperin, Shirley (December 5, 2016). "Women In Music 2016: Bozoma Saint John Named Executive of the Year". Billboard.
- "14: Bozoma Saint John, 39". Fortune. September 22, 2016. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "Aspen Institute Mobilizes New Generation of Leaders". The Aspen Institute (Press release). March 1, 2017.
- "Bozoma Saint John leaves Uber after less than a year, named CMO of Endeavor". adage.com. June 11, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
- Alba, Davey (June 13, 2016). "Bozoma Saint John Was Badass Long Before Apple". Wired.
- Sun, Rebecca (June 11, 2018). "Bozoma Saint John Exits Uber for Marketing Post at Endeavor". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- "Glitz top 100 inspirational women". Glitz Africa Magazine. No. 24. July 16, 2019.