Virgin picks head for cola division

Kingfisher executive Nick Kirkbride has joined the Virgin Cola Company as its new managing director.

The Virgin Cola Company is a joint venture between Virgin and the European subsidiary of the Cott Corporation. It oversees Virgin’s soft drinks business, including its own-brand cola and forthcoming energy drink, understood to be called Pure Virgin Energy.

Kirkbride took up his new position this week. He will oversee the UK business and examine potential for oversees expansion of the Virgin brands.

Kirkbride spent six months with Kingfisher as special projects manager. He says his rapid departure is not connected with the company’s recent disappointing sales figures or this month’s announcement that 40 of its 100 head office jobs are to be axed.

“Frankly, I just thought this was a great opportunity,” says Kirkbride. Before joining Kingfisher, Kirkbride spent five years at management consultancy McKinsey.

His connection with Virgin goes back six years, when he worked at Cadbury Schweppes/ Premier Brands alongside Simon Lester. Lester is now managing director of Virgin partner Cott Europe.

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