O2’s most senior marketer Russ Shaw is leaving his role at the mobile operator to take a group position at parent company Telefonica. The move has triggered a restructure of the marketing department that is expected to see Shaw’s 96-strong innovation team disbanded.
Shaw, O2’s capability and innovation director, will become global director of innovation at Telefonica on July 1. His existing role will be split between marketing director Sally Cowdry and device and solutions director Ian Clarke until the new structure is finalised.
It is understood that the innovations team will be moved to other parts of the business following his departure, but sources say the reshuffle could lead to redundancies. The company says it is at the beginning of the “integration process”, which will take two months. A spokeswoman adds: “The changes are being driven by strategic reasons rather than cost reduction.”
It is not clear how the changes will affect the mobile operator’s agency roster, which includes ad agency Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest, below-the-line agency Archibald Ingall Stretton and ZenithOptimedia.
Former NTL and American Express marketer Shaw joined O2 at the end of 2004 as marketing director. He took the role of capability and innovation director last year after the company set up a team to look into emerging technologies, such as broadband (MW May 25, 2006).
The innovation division, which sat alongside Cowdry’s consumer marketing team, has been focusing on new technologies and a possible move into fixed-line telecoms and broadband, as well as developing the next generation of messaging services. O2 bought broadband pro-vider Be last year but has yet to launch a high-speed internet service.
O2 reshuffled its consumer marketing department at the start of this year (MW January 18), moving head of business marketing Peter Rampling to head of consumer marketing following Cowdry’s promotion to marketing director.
The company is also setting up a new division in its marketing team to spearhead the launch of a range of own-brand mobile phones (MW March 8). The spokeswoman denies that the latest restructure will affect those plans.
Telefonica bought O2 for £18bn at the end of 2005.