Waterstone’s marketing chief quits in shake-up

Waterstone’s marketing director Martin Lee has resigned from the company after four years, following a restructure of the book shop chain’s board.

The shake-up comes after the arrival in the UK market of online booksellers Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Waterstone’s also faces competition from US giant Borders.

It is understood Lee has no job to go to. His departure follows the appointment of former organisational development director Simon Jacobs to the new board position of business development director. Jacobs oversaw the company’s merger with HMV last year. In his new role, Jacobs will oversee strategic planning and business development.

Waterstone’s will recruit externally for a new marketing director. Commercial manager Chris Rushby will act as head of marketing in the meantime.

A spokeswoman for the company says: “This is a way for new managing director David Kneale to take things forward.”

As part of the restructure, the property department of Waterstone’s will become part of the operations department, led by operations director Brian Worrall. Waterstone’s is in discussions with property director Shaw Warnock about his future role.

In March 1998, Waterstone’s merged with HMV media group, which contains Dillons bookshops and HMV music stores. It is looking to float within the next two years.

In April, HMV reported a 20 per cent jump in third-quarter operating profits, which were helped by cost cutting.

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