Thomson looks for new ad boss

The UK’s largest tour operator Thomson Holidays is looking for a new head of advertising and branding services, following a restructure initiated by marketing director Shaun Powell.

Thomson’s annual advertising budget is 6m, spent through BMP DDB, and it has a total marketing budget of 30m. Powell, who joined in May from Barclaycard where he was commercial director (MW May 1), is understood to be considering both internal and external candidates.

The present head of advertising is Russell Amerasekera, who has held the post since October last year. He is also communications director, a role he will retain while also taking on responsibility for the “cultural development” of the company – ensuring Thomson’s strategy and approach to business is clearly understood throughout the operation.

He will retain his position as head of advertising until a successor is appointed and will continue to take responsibility for some branding issues for the first six months of the appointment to ensure continuity.

“Powell wanted to strengthen the advertising and branding area and I was very keen to spend time on the cultural development side of the organisation,” says Amerasekera.

The tour operator initiated a new marketing strategy last year, backed by an advertising campaign called “Tell it like it is”, which emphasises Thomson’s honest portrayal of holidays and resorts in its brochures.

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