Planet Hollywood marketing chief joins top-level European exodus

Ailing themed restaurant chain Planet Hollywood has lost its last senior marketer in Europe with the departure of vice-president of marketing Europe, Paul Biggins.

Biggins left the chain late last week, on the heels of European vice-president of marketing Guy Laurence who left the company last month (MW January 21).

Biggins has been with the company less than a year, joining the chain last August from United Cinemas International where he was marketing director (MW August 13 1998).

The move leaves only junior local marketing staff in each of the group’s 27 European restaurants. Biggins and Laurence are not expected to be replaced. Instead their duties will be scaled down and distributed between less senior staff. Laurence and Biggins were taken on to handle plans to expand into a sports chain called All Star Café, hotels, a joint cinema and restaurant complex, and a number of other brand extensions.

However, these projects have been scrapped or scaled down as chain profits plunged as a result of fierce competition from other themed restaurants.

The chain’s final quarter sales for last year slid from 64m to 47m over the same period in 1997. In the US the company has also suffered job losses, and shares have fallen from a high of 18 to an all-time low of 2 in January.

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