Co-op appoints Gill Barr as group marketing director

The Co-operative Group has appointed former John Lewis marketer Gill Barr as group marketing director.

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Barr joins from MasterCard, less than one year after joining as head of marketing for the UK and Ireland. Prior to this she was marketing director at John Lewis until March last year when the role was axed.

Barr takes over the role previously held by Patrick Allen who left the group in July. She will be responsible for marketing across The Co-op including its food, banking, pharmacy, travel and funeralcare businesses.

Allen left shortly after completing the restructure of Co-op’s marketing department, which saw The Co-op food business’s buying and marketing teams merged and a number of senior marketing roles such as director of food retail marketing and head of brand axed.

He has since taken on a role in the care home sector with LNT Group.

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Co-operative group chief executive, Peter Marks, says: “Over the past few years, we have seen a complete rejuvenation of the Co-operative brand, which has resulted in a doubling of sales, profits and membership. The business now has a significant opportunity to show customers the benefits to them of shopping at all Co-operative businesses”

The Co-op food business launched a major advertising campaign at the start of this year to position itself as a local alternative to the Big Four supermarkets.

A spokeswoman for MasterCard says that it is currently recruiting to replace Barr.

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