Paul Philpott, one of the car industry’s highest-profile marketers, is leaving Toyota GB after more than nine years. Philpott, Toyota’s commercial director, is tipped to join Kia UK as managing director next month.
A Toyota spokeswoman confirms Philpott, who joined the company from Ford in September 1997, has resigned but will not comment on his future plans.
Philpott is the last of the triumvirate credited with the marque’s unprecedented sales growth over the last decade to move on following the departure of former commercial director Mike Moran three years ago (MW January 30, 2003) and former managing director Graham Smith’s promotion to Toyota Europe last year (MW May 11, 2006).
Industry insiders say Philpott is to replace Paul Williams as managing director of Kia. Williams left in August last year following a period of indefinite leave (MW August 31, 2006).
Smith joined Toyota from Ford in 1993, becoming marketing director a year later and managing director in 1995. He appointed Moran, another former Ford man, to head the marketing department in 1996 and Moran brought in Philpott as general manager of vehicle marketing a year later.
Philpott was promoted to marketing director in 1999 when Moran was handed the new role of commercial director (MW August 26, 1999). Philpott was then made commercial director when Moran left to join Thames Water as worldwide marketing and strategy director in 2003.
Smith became senior vice-president of Toyota Motor Europe in July last year, as first predicted in Marketing Week, while Moran now runs brand and marketing consultancy The Orchard Consultancy and motoring consultancy The Automotive Partnership.
Philpott ignited an industry wide debate in 2005 when he said that TV was no longer a "must-have" on a media schedule in the Incorporated Society for British Advertisers Annual Report (MW July 7, 2005).
Philpott and Kia were not available for comment.