Safeway top marketer goes as team faces axe

Safeway marketing director Martin Pugh has left the company following its acquisition by Wm Morrison.

His day-to-day marketing responsibilities will pass to Morrisons marketing services controller Michael Bates, who becomes marketing services director. Bates reports to Morrisons joint managing director Marie Melnyk, who has board responsibility for marketing at the supermarket chain.

Marketing Week was the first to reveal that Pugh’s future at Safeway, as well that of its 80-strong marketing team, was in doubt following a decision by the competition authorities to clear Morrisons’ bid for the supermarket last year (MW December 22, 2003). Safeway marketers are now in consultation over their jobs and it is expected that most of them will disappear, as Morrisons has always made it clear that it will close Safeway’s head office.

Pugh’s departure follows that of Safeway marketing and trading director Jack Sinclair (MW January 22). Pugh, who joined the supermarket from Comet in 2002, was promoted to marketing director last year after the departure of Karen Bray (MW June 12, 2003). It is not known whether he has a job to go to.

Bates is overseeing a consolidation of Morrisons’ media planning and buying accounts, which are handled by Mediaedge:CIA Manchester and Manning Gottlieb OMD, as first tipped in Marketing Week (December 22, 2003).

It is likely that Morrisons’ creative agency, BDH/TBWA, will take over Safeway’s advertising, which is handled by Clemmow Hornby Inge.

Morrisons has already begun rolling out an “Enjoy the change” strapline to 430 of its new Safeway stores to highlight the price cuts it is making. The strapline is being used in press ads as well as in store.

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