Virgin appoints British Gas chief

Richard Branson has poached British Gas Trading marketing boss and former National Lottery marketing director Jon Kinsey to spearhead the Virgin Group’s anticipated assault on utilities and telecoms.

Kinsey becomes managing director of Virgin Home Services, a division of the group tipped to offer a package of phone and possibly electricity, water and gas services.

Kinsey’s previous experience as Camelot marketing director may also come in handy for Branson, who has showed renewed interest in bidding for the new National Lottery licence. This month the Lottery Commission ordered that 35,000 computerised ticket terminals should be scrapped to create a “level playing field” for Virgin to compete against Camelot.

Kinsey’s former job as director of marketing and strategy at BGT will be taken by head of market operations Ian El-Mokadem.

Virgin has kept plans for its Home Services division under wraps, but it has been speculated that the unit is planning a full-scale expansion into the utilities industry.

Last month, Virgin launched its own mobile phone business in partnership with One 2 One, with fixed phone calls expected to follow.

Before BGT, Kinsey was marketing director at Camelot for three years. He was previously vice-president of Hasbro’s games division and European marketing director of oral care for Colgate-Palmolive.

During his time at BGT, Kinsey oversaw a marketing campaign offering gas customers a price guarantee on their electricity until 2002.

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