Mazda appoints marketing chief

Mazda is appointing Chris Owens, formerly corporate marketing director of Scottish Power, as marketing director.

Owens’ most pressing task will be to repair Mazda’s troubled relationship with its dealer network.

The appointment marks Owens’ return to the motor industry. Before working at Scottish Power, he was advertising and direct marketing manager for Saab.

However, Owens is unlikely to take up his new role within the next six months because he is locked into a contract with Scottish Power, according to motor industry sources.

Owens’ appointment ends Mazda’s nine-month search to find a replacement for Jan Smith, who left the company last April. She has since resurfaced as group strategic director for the RAC.

Smith’s controversial tenure at Mazda was marked by dealer unrest and poor sales as the Japanese company struggled with currency difficulties. A further three marketing managers quit the company in August (MW August 18 1995), which left managing director David Heslop temporarily in charge of marketing.

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