National Express franchise win sparks marketing rejig

National Express Group, the travel operator, is restructuring its marketing operations following its acquisition of the East Coast Mainline rail franchise relinquished by GNER last week.

National Express East Coast, which is now operating the London to Edinburgh train route, is splitting the marketing team from its customer operations. Michelle Drage, the commercial director with responsibility for both teams, is leaving at the end January. It is not thought that she has a job to go to.

It has appointed Rachel Dawson, who joins from National Express and was previously marketing director of Midland Mainline, to the new role of sales and marketing director. It has also appointed Helen Thornton, former human resources director of GNER, to head the new customer team.

GNER chief executive Jonathan Metcalfe has already left the train operating company, which is now being led by National Express head of trains David Franks.

Dawson has held a variety of marketing roles in the leisure and travel industry including Travelodge and budget airline easyJet.

The operator says her skills will help to drive revenue growth, which is “so important to the success of the new franchise”.

Drage joined GNER as customer services director in 2005, from First Choice Airways where she had the same role.

Last year, she oversaw a review of GNER’s advertising and appointed CDP to the account in April this year after a four-way pitch. It is not clear if the changes will affect the agency.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here