Key appointments: February/March
Date posted: 16th Apr 2014
With the start of 2014 bringing with it reports of a strengthening economy and improved business confidence, it’s little wonder the February - March period saw a number of high profile key appointments. Some of the most notable are detailed below.
Convenience store chain Nisa announced Etienne Botha would be taking over as head of digital to help drive forward the new online strategy. Nisa is looking to increase its online offering - especially in the world of social media - to deliver much more insight-driven digital campaigns over the year ahead.
The UK arm of Fiat Group Automobiles has unveiled a raft of senior management changes to its four main brands; Fiat, Jeep and Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Abarth. Fiat will see relative newbie to the business Kate McLaren take over marketing responsibility, whilst the head of brand role at Jeep and Chrysler fell to Damien Dally - seeing him make the move from Alfa Romeo. At the same time, Abarth saw Gerry Southerington named as head of brand, whilst Ivan Gibson took over at Alfa Romeo.
There have been similar shake ups at the top of Home Retail Group, which owns high street mainstay Argos. After the previous Argos managing director, John Walden, was elevated to CEO, commercial director David Robinson was chosen to fill the newly created chief operating officer position. This move sees Robinson take responsibility for all of the retailer’s marketing function.
Following on from England’s successful hosting of the Rugby League World Cup, the RFL has appointed Mark Foster as marketing director. In doing so he’s moved from being solely responsible for the World Cup efforts to becoming a fully-fledged member of the RFL team.
Staying with sport, Everton Football Club also saw change at the top, with respected PR man Richard Kenyon brought in to replace former communications director Alan Myers in the brand new director of marketing and communications role. Kenyon - a lifelong Everton fan - was appointed in March but his work won’t begin until April.
The UK’s largest truly independent travel management company, Hillgate Travel, brought in Warren Dix as the new director of sales and Marketing. This development follows Dix’s six-year tenure as head of sales at BCD travel.
Global research, information and insights provider Nielsen also had something of a shake-up, which saw it bring in four senior marketing and communications leaders. These are Greg Daniel, the chief digital marketing officer, Laura Nelson who will take over as chief communications officer, Saul Rosenberg, the new chief content officer and Marcy Shinder, chief marketing officer.
The Retail arm of Allianz Global saw Simon Cook hired as head of sales and marketing. The role, which Cook took on as part of a move from Allianz Global Assistance, will also see him work as a broker and corporate partner.
Celebrity chef Marcus Wareing has seen a couple of changes at the restaurant company which bears his name. Among these was the creation of the business’ very first group operations director. This position ended up going to Chantelle Nicholson, who will take it on along with her current position as general manager of the Gilbert Scott. Nicholson’s new role will see her manage marketing, PR, development, HR and finance for the whole company.
Online marketing firm Hit Search is hoping its new marketing and communications director, Rushell Clarke, will help it realise the target of becoming a much more widely known name in the industry. Clarke, who made the move from Mando, will be responsible for steering the company during this period sustained, aggressive growth.
There was also change at the top for Havas Media, which has campaigns for Penguin books and Magners cider in its impressive roster. February saw Havas take on Amanda Pitt as a managing partner for new business and marketing, after she made the switch from headhunting agency The Lighthouse Company.
Financial services software provider, Intelliflo, has secured the long term services of Jo Gilbey as marketing director. This will be a somewhat familiar position for Gilbey, who had been caretaker of the role for around five months before being appointed fully.
One of Europe’s most exciting new tech firms is Kazam, which hopes to break into the smartphone market and topple the big players such as Apple and Google with its affordable handsets. To do this it has enlisted three new sales and marketing executives to handle specific target regions. Javier Martinez will be responsible for business development in Spain, Portugal and Greece, Yves-Raphael Loerke targets the DACH region and Wojciech Wasilewski will be handle the Polish market - where Kazam has already made strong inroads.
Holiday price comparison company icelolly.com turned to Steve Wilson to fill its newly created chief marketing officer role. Wilson, who previously worked in a similar position at British Gas, will now help icelolly.com capitalise on some of its high profile partnerships, which include deals with Ministry of Sound and Missguided.
The above key appointments certainly point towards a healthy start to 2014. Furthermore, given that many of these positions have been created out of nothing, this provides as solid proof as could be needed that Britain’s economy has turned a corner. If optimism remains at its highest level in recent memory, key appointments such as these can only be set to rise further still as the year goes on.