Vodafone snaps up Amazon chief

Mobile communications giant finally fills top UK marketing post left vacant since September

Vodafone has poached Amazon’s top marketer to fill a position that has been vacant for the past eight months.

Lance Batchelor, head of worldwide marketing for Amazon.com, will become marketing director of Vodafone UK in mid-August.

The post was vacated last October, when Paul Donovan unexpectedly quit to become chief executive of Vodafone’s Irish subsidiary, Eircell (MW September 13, 2001).

In the interim, Donovan’s marketing role has been split between Vodafone UK chief executive Gavin Darby; brand and channel marketing director Colin Morley; and sales and distribution director Stephen Brewer, formerly chief executive of Eircell.

A British citizen, Batchelor helped to take Amazon.com into profit for the first time at the end of last year. Amazon.com claims to have about 30 million customers, which compares with Vodafone’s 100 million.

Before joining Amazon, Batchelor spent almost ten years at Procter & Gamble, where he held various senior marketing positions in the UK and the US, spanning a range of P&G brands. His role at Vodafone will encompass corporate marketing, product management, brand and channel marketing, and handset buying and logistics.

Vodafone has been trying to stamp a more-unified brand identity on its businesses worldwide. It recently appointed J Walter Thompson as its global ad agency network. JWT is to work with Vodafone’s lead creative agency, Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam (MW May 16).

Vodafone says Batchelor’s “experience of managing some of the world’s leading brands will be particularly valuable” to the telecoms giant.

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