Rival Air Miles start-up lures safeway man

Loyalty Rewards, the fledgling rival to Air Miles in the UK, has appointed Safeway relationship marketing manager Bob Willmott to head its marketing and planning department.

Willmott will report to Stephen Taylor, the former electronic relat- ionship marketing controller at Safeway, who joined Loyalty Rewards at its launch in October 1997.

Loyalty Rewards was founded by ex-Air Miles UK directors Keith Mills and Philip Beard. It was set up by Air Miles International after it sold Air Miles UK to British Airways. The company aims to develop a loyalty scheme to rival Air Miles UK, but with loyalty points awarded for purchases of theatre and sports tickets.

In February, its parent company paid 7.35m for the purchase of ticket handling agency First Call (MW February 12).

First Call has signed a deal with Shell to provide tickets for travel, leisure and entertainment offers in the Smart card catalogue.

The company is forming a senior sales and marketing team and has appointed Debenhams head of direct marketing Helen Boundy as a director of client services.

It has also poached Air Miles UK travel marketing director Nicola Talfourd-Cook to be product director and general manager Mike Ward as customer services director.

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