Boots retail marketing chief in return to Masterfoods

Boots retail marketing director Mark Johnson has returned to his previous post at Masterfoods after less than a month in the job.

Johnson was Masterfoods European marketing director for flagship brands Pedigree and Whiskas before being poached by Ann Francke, Boots former strategic marketing director, who was ousted last month by incoming chief executive Richard Baker (MW September 25, MW October 30).

It had been expected that Johnson, who had arrived at the retailer in the same week as Francke was given the push and has been on sick leave for the past week, would not last long at Boots (MW last week).

Francke had worked closely with Johnson at Masterfoods, where she had been European vice-president petcare marketing before leaving suddenly last year (MW May 16, 2002).

Francke was hired by the old regime at Boots at the beginning of the year. During her brief stint at Boots she instigated a review of the retailer’s &£44m UK marketing services business, shortlisting Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, Publicis, Mother and incumbent J Walter Thompson.

Marketing at Boots is now the responsibility of chief commercial officer David Kneale, a former Boots marketing director who rejoined the retailer after a stint as managing director of Waterstone’s.

Baker, who joined Boots as chief executive in September, has made it clear that the business, which is under pricing pressure from supermarkets, needs to get back to focusing on its core retail operation following a number of ill-fated experiments such as its Wellbeing services and Pure Beauty format.

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