First Choice marketing chief exits in shake-up

Holiday company First Choice has axed the position of group marketing director following a reshuffle of its marketing department.

Mike Ryan, who sat on First Choice’s board, will leave the company at the beginning of next year without a job to go to. He joined First Choice in August 2000 from his position as marketing and merchandise director at Thorn EMI (MW August 17, 2000).

Customer relationship director Glenda Lamont is also to leave at the end of this year and her position is also to be axed.

The majority of Ryan’s duties will be taken over by marketing director Sam Turnbull, whose remit will be broadened to include responsibility for customer relationship management and brochure publishing. Turnbull does not sit on the board.

First Choice restructured its marketing departments last year and created a new marketing, products and overseas operations division, headed by Ryan (MW November 22, 2001). It claimed that the shake-up was planned before the events of September 11, which had a severe impact on the travel industry. At that time Turnbull, formerly e-commerce director, took the marketing director role.

Turnbull will report to managing director Dermot Blastland. A spokeswoman for the company says that there is no plan to review advertising and media agencies. Walsh Trott Chick Smith handles advertising for the company, and Walker Media media planning and buying. First Choice spent &£737,000 on advertising for the year to September (Nielsen Media Research).

Claire Wilson joins the company as head of customer relationship management in January from TUI UK, where she headed new revenue generation for ancillary products.

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