Kieran Donahue is a transformational Fortune 500 restaurant & hospitality executive. She has extensive experience in loyalty, brand, digital and omni-channel marketing and an impressive history of surpassing business goals, building trusted relationships and empowering teams. Kieran is known for being a collaborative problem solver that leads with evidence-based marketing strategies to drive topline revenue and market share. She is a change agent with a talent for turning ambiguity into purpose and building and motivating passionate, results oriented teams.
Kieran has a consistent record of positioning organizations for success, delivering billion-dollar revenue growth, developing marketing solutions for franchisees and an acute understanding and dedication to customer engagement.
Currently Kieran is the Chief Marketing Officer for IHOP, where she oversees all brand, field and digital marketing, including brand creative, social media, communications and loyalty/CRM efforts, in addition to culinary strategy, menu development and overall brand experience. Since joining the IHOP team in early 2021, Kieran has led the charge for IHOP’s most comprehensive research project in brand history, which created a new brand campaign and is serving as the basis for IHOP’s omni-channel marketing strategy, menu development and continued growth. She was also named to Brand Innovators’ Top 100 Women in Brand Marketing list for the class of 2021.
Before joining the IHOP team, Kieran was Marriott International’s Vice President, Brand, Marketing & Digital (Americas), where she led marketing (data & analytics, brand, field, loyalty, digital, social, promotions, partnerships, public relations, crisis communications) for $17+ billion Americas business. She managed a 300+person team, $200+ million budget and drove $2.5 billion in digital room night bookings during her time at Marriott. She transformed demand/lead generation programs, steered cross functional integration of Marriott and Starwood guest loyalty programs leading to Americas member room night growth of 16%. In addition, she was the architect of a shared service field marketing organization for managed hotels and opted-in franchisees and established a data and analytics function at the hotel and continent level to track spend, channels, and returns enabling ROI proven media investments. In 2020 she led the marketing efforts for the Americas on the COVID-19 Recovery Team.
Prior to Marriott, Kieran began her hospitality career in loyalty at Hilton, holding multiple roles of increasing responsibility including Senior Director Global Marketing for Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Vice President of Global Marketing for DoubleTree Hotels and culminating in Vice President of Marketing for the Americas. She was responsible for shaping brand, regional and loyalty marketing strategies and execution across multiple channels. She led innovative teams that established and executed new processes and benchmarks for success and drove multi-million dollar increases in room night revenue and co-brand credit card sales. During her nearly 15 years at Hilton, she is credited with introducing data-driven, digital demand generation strategies, building a global brand marketing organization that included the implementation, and use of, a proprietary online digital asset creative production and management system. She initiated entertainment industry marketing relationships with TV partners including Top Chef, Hawaii Five-0, and the GRAMMY Awards.
Prior to Kieran’s time at Hilton and Marriott she was in the fashion and retail industry and attributes her early career with engraining in her the philosophy that “marketing has to make the cash register ring.”
Kieran is known for a leadership style that is results driven, transparent, authentic and thoughtful. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising. She regularly volunteers her time to act as a panelist, speaker and mentor and was named a 2020 VCU “Alumni Power Player” in the marketing field. Kieran also served as Chairperson for Cystic Fibrosis Fall Fundraising Gala Washington DC Chapter from 2015-2018 raising more than $1million dollars. She is a big sports fan especially of VCU Basketball and has also been known to be up for a little karaoke. She and her husband Joseph, love to host family and friends for dinners and gatherings, and currently live in Los Angeles, California.