Durex owner SSL’s UK marketing director, John Zaheer Flaherty, has left the company without a job to go to.
A spokeswoman for the group, which owns the Durex and Scholl foot care brands, confirmed the move but declined to comment further. Flaherty was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.
Flaherty, a former United Biscuits marketer, joined SSL in 2000 as a brand manager for Durex condoms, and was later promoted to marketing manager for the brand in 2001, and marketing controller in 2002.
In 2003, he was made project manager for the Durex Play range of lubricants and sex toys, before moving to become UK marketing manager for SSL’s entire brand portfolio in October the following year.
At SSL, Flaherty was responsible for several major launches including Durex Easy On condoms, its Performa range of climax-delaying condoms and Durex Tingle – a condom designed to produce a tingling sensation.
With a brief to make sex less of a taboo subject, he also oversaw the roll-out of the Durex Play range of lubricants and vibrators, which launched in Superdrug stores last summer. One ad for the range, a print execution by McCann Erickson Manchester, featured a young woman’s bed full of teddy bears. The strapline read: “It’s time to change your toys”.
Buoyed by the introduction of the Play range, Durex sales rose by ten per cent last year, which alongside strong growth in SSL’s foot care division saw its half-year profits increase 65 per cent.