Philips chief steps down due to ill health

Philips Electronics global marketing chief Gerard Dufour has left the company after suffering two major heart attacks, sources have confirmed.

Dufour was hired three years ago from Philips’ advertising agency Euro RSCG. He is widely credited with introducing a branding and marketing culture at the electronics giant and revitalising its staid image.

As senior director of marketing and chairman of the brand equity committee, he was responsible for the “Let’s make things better” campaign, which helped sell Philips to a younger market.

Dufour’s position was created for him by chief executive Cor Boonstra and he will not be directly replaced.

Ad Veenhof, a member of Philips’ group management committee, will become chairman of the brand equity board. Mark Kerray, head of the sponsorship centre of excellence, will take over as head of the global brand management department, and report to Veenhof.

Philips staff were informed in a memo that Dufour would be leaving to “pursue other interests outside the company”, but sources have confirmed that Dufour decided to go after suffering two major heart attacks.

Paying tribute to Dufour’s work, he says: “Gerard brought a universality and focus to Philips’ marketing strategy which it lacked before.

“He has left a good, stable platform for the company to build on. There is a lot more self-confidence and belief in where it is going.”

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