Aston Villa signs marketing chief

Aston Villa Football Club has appointed Phil Smith as marketing chief following the resignation of Kate Linnell earlier this year (MW July 3).

Smith, marketing director at London-based wholesale grocer Blueheath, will join Aston Villa as head of marketing next month. Smith – not to be confused with the Camelot commercial director of the same name – previously held the top marketing position at financial services company Travelex, and worked in marketing at Tesco.

At Blueheath, Smith has overseen a marketing strategy that has helped the company become a leading supplier to independent retailers. The company has been nominated for the emerging entrepreneur award in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition.

Smith’s appointment follows a reshuffle of Aston Villa’s marketing and sales team. He will work with commercial director Abdul Rassid and with Nicola Keye, who was appointed to the newly created position of consumer sales manager in August.

Linnel, who was previously head of marketing services at the Benetton Formula One team, has left the football club without a job to go to.

Aston Villa has decided to focus its marketing efforts on customer relationship management. The first stage of the marketing strategy will be to develop the club’s supporter database.

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