Top Rover marketer defects to rival VW

Beleaguered car company Rover has been hit by yet another defection from its senior management team.

After less than three months as managing director with responsibility for sales and marketing of Rover Cars in the UK, Paul Willis has left to join rival car company Volkswagen.

As director of Volkswagen Cars, Willis has overall responsibility for VW sales and marketing.

His defection leaves Rover and its parent company both seeking managing directors, following the resignation of Kevin Gaskell from BMW last month (MW January 20).

Willis, who joined VW this week, is to take up the position left vacant when Robin Woolcock was promoted to managing director in charge of all the VW Group’s brands, including Seat, Skoda and Audi.

Chris Craft, head of VW marketing, will report to Willis, while VW communications manager Bernard Bradley will continue to report to Craft.

In December, Willis moved from head of car sales for BMW to managing director of Rover, after Jim MacDonald left to join financial company Wesleyan.

Willis has previously worked at Ford and Toyota’s sales and marketing departments. He joined Mazda as sales director in 1995, before being hired by BMW in 1997.

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