Imperial Tobacco rejigs marketing team in wake of operations review

Imperial Tobacco has restructured its marketing department following the appointment of UK general manager Michael Read.

The company has promoted long-serving cigarette marketing manager Peter Manzi to the newly created post of head of consumer marketing for its three marketing divisions: cigarettes; “other” tobacco products and Rizla papers; and hospitality outlets such as hotels and bars.

The brand managers from the three divisions will report to Manzi. Terry Rogers will be responsible for other tobacco products and papers, Paul Matthews will look after the hospitality accounts, and Andy Pass will manage the company’s cigarettes business.

Sales director Geoff Couchman has retired from the company after more than 40 years, although he will continue to work as a consultant on projects in Europe. The sales director role will be scrapped and its duties divided between the newly created posts of national field manager and national account manager.

The changes come after a review of the company’s operations sparked by the arrival of Read in April. Read replaced UK managing director Graham Blashill, who was promoted to regional director for western Europe.

The £11.3bn UK tobacco market has been relatively active despite a ban on advertising, with Philip Morris and Gallaher recently launching brands Basic and DG (MW July 1 and August 26). This month, Imperial Tobacco launched Rizla Regular Silver following the success of Rizla King Size Slim Silver last year (MW August 7, 2003).

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