Smith leaves Demon Internet after top-level strategy row

Samantha Smith, marketing director of Demon Internet, has left following clashes over her marketing strategy with the company’s senior management.

Her departure, after only seven months, has thrown the company’s multimillion pound marketing plans into doubt.

Smith appointed BMP DDB’s new media division, BMP InterAction, in March to handle a heavyweight marketing account, worth an unconfirmed 4m. Those plans are now thought to be under review.

It is Smith’s second high-profile departure in less than a year.

She joined Burger King as marketing director in 1995, after a spell as head of marketing at McDonald’s. But despite praise for her handling of the BSE crisis, she left Burger King after her job disappeared in a senior management restructure in autumn 1996.

Smith replaced former marketing director Martin Lester at Demon last December, after Lester had spent two months in the role.

Demon Internet is Britain’s biggest “pure” Internet access provider, with an estimated 115,000 paying subscribers.

But it trails considerably behind rivals CompuServe, AOL and MSN in the UK, which all offer both

Internet access and extra services to subscribers.

Demon founder and managing director Cliff Stanford says: “In response to recent changes in the market, Demon Internet has decided to combine the roles of sales and marketing director, a situation which was not envisaged a few months ago.”

It remains unclear whether Joe Carr, sales director across Demon’s entire consumer and business divisions, will take on Smith’s role.

Her departure represents a setback for Stanford, who on her arrival declared: “When people think of the Internet, we want them to think of Demon.”

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