Mercedes Car Group UK marketing director Nick Ratcliffe is leaving to join BT.
It is understood that Ratcliffe, who has been marketing director at the Daimler Chrysler-owned marque for three years, is joining BT’s directories division in a senior role.
Ratcliffe has been marketing director at Mercedes since 2003, when he was promoted from head of corporate sales at DaimlerChrysler. Last year, he took on responsibility for the Smart marque when it was aligned more closely with Mercedes.
Ratcliffe has been at DaimlerChrysler for 11 years but previously held roles at BMW and Citroën. He has overseen a difficult period for Mercedes, which has lost ground to rivals BMW and Audi although its UK sales are up 9% this year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The company had sold 64,683 cars by the end of September, giving it a 3.4% market share.
Ratcliffe was the man behind the joint client-agency business unit that was set up earlier this year with Shop and Claydon Heeley (MW March 2). He also played a major role in developing the company’s new brand experience centre Mercedes-Benz World.
A spokesman for Mercedes confirms that Ratcliffe is leaving at the end of the month but says no decision on a replacement has been made. A BT spokesman says he “cannot confirm or deny” that Ratcliffe is joining the company.
Earlier this year, Mercedes appointed BBDO to handle the £25m global launch of the new C-Class, following a pitch against Shop and US agency Merkley & Partners. However, the decision does not affect Shop’s hold on Mercedes’ £13m UK advertising business.