Red Bull UK brand director Guy Carling has left the energy drinks company suddenly. It is not known if he has a job to go to, but he has been linked to a new venture with former Red Bull managing director Harry Drnec.
It is not clear if Red Bull is planning to replace Carling, who joined the company in 1997. His responsibilities will be handled in the interim by Anoushka Feiler, who joined from Carling as marketing director earlier this year.
Carling’s abrupt exit comes amid a number of high-profile departures from the company in recent months, following the arrival of managing director Nigel Trood in May (MW August 2).
These are understood to include head of sports Neal Taylor, director of on-trade sales Alan Clarke, head of motor and air sports Linda Pelham, and sales director Mike South. Trood is streamlining and restructuring the business. Trood denied at the time the company was making any redundancies or that it had started a consultation despite a restructure of the business.
Carling joined Red Bull as a student brand manager and held a variety of roles at the company before being promoted to marketing director in 2003. He was promoted to brand director earlier this year.
Drnec, who left Red Bull in March after 12 years with the company, is launching a drinks brand called Suso. The carbonated juice drink was expected to be launched this summer but it has yet to come to market (MW May 31).
The drink will not compete against Red Bull but will target the “general” consumer market.
Drnec is credited with turning around Red Bull’s fortunes through its sponsorship approach and developing its positioning as “stimulation for body and mind”.