CMO Moves: SiriusXM’s Denise Karkos Shares the Importance of Putting ‘Another Single on the Board’

Inside her team's pandemic pivots and advice on building back your confidence

denise karkos
Denise Karkos took the marketing reins at SiriusXM a year ago. Photo Courtesy of Denise Karkos; Graphic: Julian Gamboa
Headshot of Heide Palermo

SiriusXM acquired Pandora in February 2019 and, about nine months later, brought on Denise Karkos, formerly of TD Ameritrade, as its chief marketing officer. Since then, Karkos has taken her time assessing the needs of the business and the skills of her teams to get to a restructure that just took effect a couple of months ago. As part of that reshuffle, Karkos was proud to share that the company was able to “keep all the players in the field” with no turnover.

“I organized by capability, making sure that I was leaning into people’s strengths and giving people the opportunity to actually work across both brands for their own career development,” Karkos said. “I think it’s a gift to give people the opportunity to stretch and work across multiple brands.”

Karkos has spent the past few months shining a light on the “tangible wins” her team was able to produce during quarantine, from building top-notch in-home studios to quickly building a campaign around the much-needed feeling of escapism for consumers. And the business continues to grow, recently acquiring the podcast platform Stitcher and forming a partnership with SoundCloud, making SiriusXM the No. 1 ad-supported audio business in the country with more than 150 million listeners a month.

Tune into this episode of CMO Moves to find out what led Karkos to a chief marketing role in an entirely different category, how she’s focusing on her team right now and the one thing you can do to build back your confidence after a slip-up.

@heidefaith Heide is the senior director of brand community at Adweek and Editor of the Inside the Brand series, including the CMO Moves and Gen ZEOs podcasts, Innovators, Challengers, and Women Trailblazers. She also leads Adweek's Innovators Council.