Senior shake-up at Littlewoods

Tony Hillyer, marketing chief of pools giant Littlewoods Leisure, has been promoted to commercial director, after three of the company’s top directors announced they are taking early retirement.

The shake-up comes after the company announced disappointing results in March for its Leisure division, which comprises the Pools, Spot the Ball and the Littlewoods Lotteries charity scratchcard operation. Turnover in 1996 fell to 459m, a 27 per cent drop from 631m in 1995. The company says it expects the coming year to be “difficult” following the introduction of the midweek National Lottery draw.

Sales director Brian Hillhouse, who was marketing director before Hillyer joined, production director Jim Duncan and maintenance director Jim McKernan are all taking early retirement. The company says the three are all “close to retirement age”, but admits their departures have led to a shake up of the management structure.

Hillyer joined Littlewoods Leisure in 1995 as marketing director, after quitting Dalgety’s Golden Wonder. As commercial director, he will add responsibility for sales to his marketing brief and report to managing director Colin Thwaite. Hillyer is reviewing the structure of the company’s marketing and sales operation. A Littlewoods spokesman says: “Hillyer will be looking at the shape of future development.”

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