Odeon marketing chief steps down

Odeon Cinemas marketing director Ron Hanlon has stepped aside from the position just as the cinema chain becomes enmeshed in a bidding war. Marketing manager Luke Vetere has been promoted to marketing director and reports to recently appointed chief executive Tim Schoonmaker.

A spokeswoman for Odeon says that Hanlon remains with Odeon as a business advisor. She added that the restructure had been planned before Schoonmaker’s arrival. Schoonmaker, who was chief executive of EMAP Performance, took the position last month.

Vetere has worked at Odeon for eight years in various positions, including cinema manager and promotions manager. He was put on Odeon’s fast-track management programme before joining the marketing department.

Odeon Cinemas is on the auction block after shareholder Robert Tchenguiz made a pre-emptive bid of &£360m that fellow shareholders blocked (MW June 3). Majority shareholder West LB wants to get out.

It is believed that rival cinema groups, including Vue Entertainment and several private equity firms, are preparing bids. The auction is being handled by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. First-round bids are expected to be lodged by July 9.

Meanwhile, a consortium led by former Carlton Communications chairman Michael Green has an agreement to buy the 34-site Cine-UK chain. This depends on a successful bid for the UCI chain.

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