Papa John’s lures Pizza Hut marketer

Pizza Hut director of retail marketing Simon Wallis has left the company to join rival pizza chain, Papa John’s. It is not known what role he will take.

Wallis has already left Pizza Hut and is on gardening leave. It is not clear if Pizza Hut plans to replace him or if his responsibilities will be taken on by chief marketing officer Hugh Wood.

Wallis joined Pizza Hut in November 2003 from sister brand KFC, where he was marketing manager (MW November 8, 2003). He was immediately charged with heading the chain’s marketing strategy after then marketing director, James O’Reilly, left to join KFC USA (MW November 13, 2003).

Pizza Hut later appointed former Safeway marketing chief Martin Pugh to the role (MW May 27, 2004). Pugh left after just a year. It was thought that Wallis would take over the marketing director role after Pugh’s departure, but Wood was later appointed.

Papa John’s is the third largest pizza company in the US but it has so far failed to make an impact in the UK. It has about 87 UK stores but is planning to open 250 over the next five years through franchise deals and owned stores.

Earlier this year, Papa John’s appointed Ian Saunders as managing director. He replaced Daneil Cousineau, who left the company to pursue other interests. Saunders has also held roles at KFC and Pizza Hut.

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