By Michele Simpson

Express Newspapers is believed to have split its marketing function – sidelining Don Gray into the role of circulation director.

Gray, who is currently circulation and marketing director, is being put in charge of circulation as the group seeks a marketing director (MW March 29).

Amanda Platell, managing director of The Independent, denies suggestions she is being headhunted for the role.

Express Newspapers, part of the United News & Media group, is grappling with a continuing slide in circulation.

Recent Audit Bureau of Circulations figures show that circulation for the Daily Express in June was 1,219,591, down 2.7 per cent on the same period last year.

The Sunday Express suffered a drop of more than ten per cent, falling to 1,202,354.

Its decline in circulation has been blamed on a lack of promotional activity and a small ad budget.

However, in April Sunday Express editor Sue Douglas successfully argued that the title’s ad budget be boosted from 1m in 1995 to 6m (MW April 26).

The Sunday Express chose Walsh Trott Chick Smith for the creative account over HHCL & Partners, Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, Lowe Howard-Spink and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. The incumbent, Leo Burnett, did not pitch.

Gray is effectively returning to his old role in circulation. He assumed the position of marketing chief in 1992 after the marketing function was folded into circulation when group marketing director Ray Steward left the company.

“Gray is not a marketer. Marketing at the Express has been mainly promotions – giving away a few cars,” says one media buyer.

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