Interflora takes on Grey chief as first president

Interflora Inc, the world’s largest floral services organisation, has picked Jeff Solender, communications director of Grey International, as its first president and general manager.

Solender, who joins next month, will be charged with developing new marketing initiatives – including an international advertising and public relations programme. Interflora is thought to have a total marketing budget of about $40m (27m).

The company cites international expansion as the reason for Solender’s appointment. Until now the tasks assigned to him have been handled by a board of 12 directors. He will report to this executive board.

Interflora Inc, which has a membership of over 50,000 florists in about 150 countries, is composed of three groups. FTD operates in North and South America, Japan and Taiwan; Interflora British Group is responsible for markets covering most of the Commonwealth; and Fleurop-Interflora handles continental Europe, the Middle East and some parts of Africa and Asia.

Solender joined Grey International London, in his present position, six years ago. A graduate of Yale University, he began his career as a fundraiser and marketing consultant for the Democratic Party in the US.

From 1982 to 1986 he was vice president and director of strategic planning at Craver Mathews Smith & Company, a US political marketing and advertising agency, before joining Ogilvy & Mather Direct in London as a board director.

Solender’s review of international advertising is separate from the account review taking place at Interflora in the UK.

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