Heineken global cider business manager Paul Bartlett has defected to rival C&C Group. It is unclear at this stage what role he has taken.
It is thought that Bartlett, who is also a former Scottish & Newcastle consumer marketing chief, has already joined the company.
His appointment comes just weeks after the arrival of John Dunsmore as C&C’s chief executive. Dunsmore, a former S&N chief executive, replaced Maurice Pratt, who resigned from the company after admitting that the repositioning strategy he had put in place over the past two years had “not met expectations”.
The company is now reviewing its marketing strategy as part of its attempt to raise revenues. It currently has an annual ad spend of £15m, according to Nielsen Media Research. Its ad agency is Dublin-based Youngs Euro RSCG, with media planning and buying handled by Media Planning Group.
Sales for Magners have fallen this year. In the six months to the end of August, the company says revenues dropped 13% and it has warned it expects operating profits to fall in the second half of the year. In Britain, the cider brand was affected by a wet summer, together with the tightening of the economy.
C&C Group’s portfolio includes Magners, Bulmers, Tullamore Dew and Frangelico.
In January, S&N accepted a £7.8bn takeover bid from Sunrise Acquisitions – a joint venture between Carlsberg and Heineken. Under the deal, Carlsberg acquired S&N’s shares in Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), a Russian joint venture between the two companies which produces Baltika beer.
Carlsberg also took over S&N’s French, Greek, Chinese and Vietnamese operations, while Heineken took on the businesses in the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, India and the US.