Virgin Cola chief moves to phone arm

Virgin Cola marketing director James Kydd is to become brand director of Virgin Mobile, the mobile phone company Virgin is setting up with One 2 One.

Kydd will work alongside Virgin Mobile marketing director Joe Steele, formerly a BTCellnet marketer. Both will report to managing director Tom Alexander, who was previously BT Cellnet commercial development director.

Kydd will look after brand and external communications and Steele will oversee product and consumer issues, including distribution and pricing.

A marketing team covering the Internet, communications and product design is being recruited. Former joint deputy editor of the Sunday Express Steven Day will report to Kydd as head of PR.

Kydd expects Virgin Mobile’s pledge to give a free hands-free headset with every phone to be copied by other mobile phone companies. But he says health concerns are not the primary motivation for the free headsets: “It is mainly for convenience, but if people are happier with a headset, then fine.”

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe will handle Virgin Mobile’s creative account, Manning Gottlieb Media the media, and HPT Brand Response the direct marketing.

A shortlist for Kydd’s successor at Virgin Cola has been drawn up from mainly external candidates.

Kydd joined Virgin in 1994 as advertising manager for Virgin Atlantic Airways and after eight months moved to launch the cola and vodka brands as marketing director for The Virgin Trading Company and Virgin Cola.

He has also acted as a marketing adviser on other Virgin ventures, including its railway company.

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