Briefs

BT has poached Bell Canada marketing guru Mike Wagner following a restructure at its Personal Communications (PC) sales and marketing division. Wagner will head a new PC division called Network Marketing. The Customer Communications Unit will be integrated into a new Marketing Communications department headed by former PepsiCo European marketing director Charlotte Pinder.

British Airways has recruited Carl Michel from management consultancy McKinsey to fill the new post of head of business development. He will report directly to group managing director Bob Ayling.

British Gas has appointed Simon Kirkhead, former head of development, to devise a marketing strategy for the company. His new title will be managing director of group marketing

Sony is to launch a 20m pan-European TV campaign for its PlayStation games machine on October 6. The series of eight ads centre on an absurd character called Dwight P Dibbley. As a member of the so-called Society Against PlayStation, he will warn against the ‘vile depraved’ PlayStation and recommend that children be given sticks and balls for Christmas instead.

Virgin Atlantic has promoted Alison Copus to head its marketing department. She replaces Ruth Blakemore, who left in July to join Bell Cablemedia.

Penguin has joined Harper Collins and Random House in announcing that it will break the Net Book Agreement.

Grand Metropolitan’s Heublein division has no right to use the Smirnoff brand name in Russia. The Russian patent office has ruled in favour of the Smirnoff family. Heublein, which bought the worldwide rights to the brand in 1939 from a Russian émigré (who had purchased them from brand founder Peter Smirnoff’s son), plans to appeal.

Alton Towers has appointed Glenn Earlam as its new divisional director of marketing. He joins next month from Bass, where he was new product development manager responsible for the launch of Carling Premier.

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