Honda’s brand chief Matthew Coombe, one of the key figures behind the marque’s award-winning advertising devised by Wieden & Kennedy, is leaving the car manufacturer after nine years to join Vodafone.
Coombe, Honda’s marketing communications manager, leaves at the end of October. He will join Vodafone UK next month as head of brand, and report to Dominic Chambers, the mobile giant’s head of brand and marketing communications.
Coombe worked closely with Honda’s head of marketing Simon Thompson on its award-winning Cog and Grrr ads, as well as the more recent Choir and Impossible Dream brand campaigns.
Thompson also left the company for a job in telecoms when he joined Motorola as European marketing director earlier this year.
Sources say Coombes departure could lead to changes in Honda’s “strategy and creative output, as he was the “man who drove the business day to day”. The company has already parted with communications planning agency Naked since Thompson left.
Thompson was replaced by head of marketing for power equipment Jeff Dodds in March. A Honda spokesman confirms that Coombe is leaving at the end of the month but says that no decision has been made on a replacement.
In his new role, Coombe will work with Chambers to strengthen the Vodafone brand in the UK. Chambers, a former Uniqlo marketing director, joined the mobile operator last year as a replacement for Martin Tod.