Airport operator BAA’s retail marketing director Claire Hewitt is leaving the company at Christmas to set up her own marketing consultancy.
Her resignation comes only six months after BAA’s Heathrow retail director Bob Knowles left to join royal jewellers Asprey, which owns Garrard, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland (MW May 24).
BAA now makes over half its revenue from airport shops. In the last financial year, its revenue from duty-free shops at UK airports increased by 88.5 per cent to 177m.
Hewitt has worked for BAA for seven years, helping to develop its extensive retail offer in UK airports. She reports to BAA’s retail board, headed by retail director Barry Gibson. The company has yet to announce her successor.
Before joining BAA, Hewitt worked in retail marketing at the Burton Group. She has also worked for Mars, and joined Marks & Spencer as a management trainee.
BAA is carrying out a statutory review of its advertising agencies and is understood to have narrowed its list down to incumbent Bates Dorland, and one other agency.
Hewitt says: “The time is right for me to start a consultancy, especially with my strategic planning experience. But I will be intimately involved in the agency pitch.”