Ex-Rover chief to push UK brands

The Walpole Committee, set up to promote “upmarket” British brands overseas, has hired former Rover Cars marketing director John Russell as its new director general.

The committee, created in 1992, has members including British Airways, the Dorchester Hotel, whisky company William Grant, Jaguar Cars and Land Rover.

It was originally designed to raise awareness of its members’ products and companies in a British context. But Russell’s appointment is seen as a shift in emphasis to establish a more marketing-led group.

“The aim of the group is to act on joint activities and marketing opportunities,” says Russell, who left Rover last year (MW September 27 1996). “It brings together a group of upmarket brands to promote them worldwide. We are trying not to be a lobbying organisation – this is not a defensive move to do with trade barriers – but about promoting what Britain is good at.”

The US will be the focus of attention for any promotional campaign. Russell replaces Sir Gordon Jewkes.

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