Saab duo exit after strategy row

Saab GB has parted company with its two most senior marketing executives following criticism of its Swedish parent’s marketing strategy (MW March 10).

General marketing manager Geoff Acton and advertising manager Debi Wadsted left the company at the end of last week. The two are the architects of Saab GB’s present ú4m ad campaign – the company’s first UK-produced television work for seven years, created by Barker & Ralston.

The firm claims they “have resigned to pursue their own interests. It was an amicable parting”, says a spokesman.

But the departures come ahead of an international marketing meeting in Stockholm – that will decide the future global marketing strategy for the marque – and midway through an ad campaign that Acton and Wadsted were very committed to.

The Swedish parent is keen to establish Saab GB as a global brand supported by a single marketing strategy.

It recruited Swedish agency Lowe Brindfors, part of the Lowe Group, in February last year to handle all international creative work. However, Saab GB wanted the freedom to develop a more independent identity for the brand in the UK and this led to tension with Stockholm.

The departure of Acton and Wadsted could undermine Barker & Ralston’s hold on the Saab GB business – which it has held since February 1994.

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