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Johnson Controls Chief Marketing Officer- Chris Bontempo

Johnson Controls Hires IBM Veteran Chris Bontempo as CMO; Continues Smart Building Technology Initiative

May 8, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

IBM veteran Chris Bontempo (pictured above) has joined Johnson Controls International as chief marketing officer, the smart building and data center technology provider announced.

Bontempo previously was IBM's chief marketing & communications officer, Americas. In that role, he led marketing for IBM across the United States, Canada and Latin America, with direct responsibility for marketing-sourced revenue, demand generation and marketing teams, Johnson Controls said.

George Oliver, CEO, Johnson Controls International

Bontempo's career move comes at a key time for Johnson Controls. Indeed the company's marketing and branding emphasizes "smart, healthy and sustainable buildings."

To further sharpen that strategy, Johnson Controls may sell off certain HVAC business assets and the ADT alarms unit, according to Reuters. During a May 2024 earnings call, CEO George Oliver didn't mention those business units by name, but he said the company continues to "make good progress on the exploration of alternatives for some of these assets." Translation: Discussions with potential suitors for certain businesses continues.

Smart Building Technologies: AI, IoT and OpenBlue Software

Johnson Controls, based in Cork, Ireland, has roughly 100,000 employees worldwide. For a closer look at the overall business strategy, rewind to a December 2023 earnings call with Wall Street analysts. On that call, Oliver explained how the company was betting its business on smart building technologies that align with customers' energy efficiency, sustainability and decarbonization goals.

Related Podcast: Johnson Controls VP & CTO Vijay Sankaran on Smart Buildings of the Future

The strategy leans heavily on artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing services that save energy and reduce emissions, while improving the overall building occupant experience, the company has emphasized.

Johnson Controls' data-gathering technology, known as OpenBlue, brings both IT and OT (operational technology) data together from across a building's ecosystem. The software can "break down silos" between third-party equipment, Oliver pointed out.

Moreover, the company will lean heavily on distributors and systems integrator partners to recommend, deploy and manage smart building solutions.

Johnson Controls Business Performance, Data Center Momentum

Fast forward to May 2024. The company announced sales of $6.7 billion for Q2 of fiscal year 2024 -- essentially flat compared to the corresponding quarter last year. Still, Oliver said the company remains "confident in our ability to deliver on our financial and operational commitments as we continue our transformation into a comprehensive solutions provider for commercial buildings.”

Among the bright spots: Data center customer orders in the fiscal first half of 2024 have surpassed the $2 billion in orders for all of fiscal 2024, Oliver said during the May 2024 earnings call. Moreover, Johnson Controls executives mentioned the data center business segment 39 times during the call.

We'll be watching and listening to see if CMO Chris Bontempo doubles down on that data center momentum, and associated channel partner engagements.

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