Kimberly A. Whitler

Frank M. Sands Sr. Associate Professor of Business Administration

Hear my name


FOB 298B

Academic Area

Areas of Expertise

Marketing Strategy, Marketing Performance, Brand Management

Education: B.A., Eureka College; MBA, University of Arizona, Eller School of Business; M.S., Ph.D., Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

Kimberly A. Whitler is currently Frank M. Sands Sr. Associate Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. Previously, Whitler spent nearly 20 years in general management, strategy and marketing roles within the CPG and Retailing industries, managing global, U.S. and Eastern European-based businesses. She spent most of her career at Procter & Gamble, and more recently served as the general manager of the Breakfast Division for Aurora Foods, the CMO of David’s Bridal, the country’s leading bridal apparel retailer, and as an officer of PetSmart, the country’s largest pet specialty retailer.

She is the author of "Positioning for Advantage: Techniques and Strategies to Grow Brand Value," named a “best strategy book,” is the co-author of the book “Athlete Brands: How to Benefit from Your Name, Image & Likeness,” has written over 350 articles as a Forbes senior contributor and has published in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, The Washington Post, Chief Executive, Directors & Boards, The Conference Board Directors' Notes, Ad Age, The CMO Council’s PeerSphere, Chief Marketer, Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Advertising Research, Business Horizons, Marketing Science Institute, Journal of International Marketing, and Academy of Management Journal. Whitler’s research regarding the impact of marketers on the board of directors was a finalist for the Journal of Marketing's 2018 MSI/Paul H. Root Award. Her Marketing Science Institute publication entitled "When and How Does Board-Level Marketing Experience Impact Firm Performance," won the 2017 Robert D. Buzzell Best Paper for research that had the most significant impact on marketing practice and thought over the prior two-year period. Her paper entitled "Research in Marketing Strategy" won the 2020 Sheth Foundation Award, given annually to the best research published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.

Her Forbes publications have garnered over 4,100,000 views and she has been ranked as a Top Influencer of CMOs. She has been named a “Favorite Professor of Top MBA Students” in Poets and Quants and won Darden's "Morton Award" in 2018 and 2021 for the professor who most inspired the student Morton Award recipient to act upon ideas for evolution and improvement. She has spoken and/or consulted for a number of C-level organziations, including: G2 Coke/McDonald’s Conference, San Francisco CEO-CMO Summit, Forbes’ CMO Summit, Coca-Coca Company, E. & J. Gallo, Brand 50 Summit, 11th Annual High-Tech CMO Conference, Atlanta CMO Roundtable, San Francisco Accounting CMO Conference, U.S. Department of Defense, Gartner, MMA Board Meeting, MSI’s Trustee Meeting, among others.

Whitler has been interviewed, cited or quoted over 3,600 times, including: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, New York Times, MSN, Yahoo!, Financial Chronicle, NBC, ABC, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Associated Press, U.S. News & World Report, Knowledge@Wharton, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Entrepreneur, Standard Examiner, National Association of Corporate Directors, The Conference Board, The Economist Group, The Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Fox Sports, Huffington Post, Mediabuzz, Oxygen, and a variety of international media outlets. She attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, received a B.A. in psychology and business administration from Eureka College, an MBA from the University of Arizona, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Indiana University.


Selected Publications

Whitler, Kimberly A., Ryan Krause, and Donald Lehmann (2015), "When and How Does Board-Level Marketing Experience Impact Firm Performance," Marketing Science Institute Working Paper Series, 15-109.

Krause, Ryan, Kimberly A. Whitler, and Matthew Semadeni (2014), "Power to the Principals! An Experimental Look at Shareholder Say-on-Pay Voting," Academy of Management Journal, 57 (1), 94-115.

  • Among AMJ's "Most-read articles" (March 2015)

Krause, Ryan, Kimberly A. Whitler, and Matthew Semadeni (2013), "When do Shareholders Care about CEO Pay?" The Conference Board Directors' Notes, No. DN-V2N16, 1-7.

Lewis, Michael, Kimberly A. Whitler, and JoAndrea Hoegg (2013), "Customer Relationship Stage and the use of Picture-Dominant versus Text-Dominant Advertising: A Field Study," Journal of Retailing, 89 (3), 263-280.

Lewis, Michael, Kimberly A. Whitler, and JoAndrea Hoegg (2009), "No Second Chance to Make a First Impression: A Field Study of Relationship Initiation and Development," Marketing Science Institute Working Paper Series, 4, 09-122.

Whitler, Kimberly A. and (2015), "2015 CMO Impact Study: Executive Summary," 6/1/2016, (accessed at: ExecutiveSummary.pdf).

Whitler, Kimberly A. and The CMO Council (2014), "The CMO Compensation Study," 7/26/2014 (accessed at: CMO Council.

Whitler, Kimberly A. and (2014), "CMO Impact Study: 9 Key Learnings," 3/26/2014. (accessed at:


Case Studies

Advancing knowledge through research that shapes business, Darden professors are recognized thought leaders in their fields. They are not only master case method teachers, they also author many of the cases used in Darden classrooms and around the world.

Kimberly A. Whitler's cases are available in the Darden Business Publishing website.