Ralph SantanaFounding Member EVP & Global CMO, HARMAN International
Ralph Santana is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of HARMAN, a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Leading a team of over 175 marketers worldwide, Ralph drives all aspects of HARMAN’s marketing strategy across B2B and B2C programs as well as corporate communications and PR. This includes brand stewardship, sponsorships, artist relations, experiential marketing, insights, and product innovation for all HARMAN products and technology brands including the iconic brands AKG®, harman/kardon®, and JBL®.
In addition to overseeing marketing worldwide, Ralph also has P&L accountability for HARMAN’s e-commerce business as well as its design agency named Huemen. The design agency operates 6 studios around the world and employs over 250 designers in industrial design as well as UI/UX. Ralph also served as Head of Latin America for HARMAN where he was accountable for strategic business development, management oversight, and delivering the operating budget and P&L. This spanned HARMAN’s businesses in consumer electronics, professional audio, and automotive industries across 49 countries, 6,400 employees, and five manufacturing sites.
Under Ralph’s leadership, HARMAN has built the most powerful audio brand portfolio in the industry. HARMAN is now ranked #1 in car audio, #1 in consumer portable speakers, and #3 in headphones worldwide. HARMAN has also won more than 375 product design and innovation awards over the last several years and, notably, Ralph grew e-commerce sales over ten-fold.
Before joining HARMAN, Ralph served as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Samsung Electronics North America from 2010 to 2012. In that role, he was responsible for launching Samsung’s U.S. e-commerce business and building out branding strategies that drove significant visibility, putting the Samsung brand at the center of culture.
Ralph’s experience prior to Samsung included a 16-year career at PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE:PEP) that spanned multiple international and domestic leadership roles in marketing. In his last assignment at PepsiCo, Ralph served as vice president of Colas, where he spearheaded a massive creative overhaul and re-launch of Pepsi-Cola, recognized with various Webby, Effie and Event Marketer awards. He was also the driving force behind the groundbreaking Pepsi Refresh Project, a social media initiative that leveraged new forms of consumer engagement. During his tenure at PepsiCo, Ralph served as Vice President of Sports, Media, Branded Entertainment and Interactive Marketing, Vice President of Consumer Promotions and Customer Marketing, and led marketing for the Caribbean region. He also held positions with Frito-Lay’s international and North America operations.
Prior to PepsiCo, Ralph worked for Beverage Marketing Corporation as a beverage industry consultant designing market entry and expansion strategies. Ralph received his bachelor’s degree in English literature from Dartmouth College, and his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Ralph currently serves on the board of Dollar General Corporation (DG). He is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Network. Previously, Ralph served as a board member of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), was named an “A” list marketer by Advertising Age and was honored with Street & Smith’s prestigious 40 Under 40 Award.