She will report to Mike Gallacher, managing director of Mars Petcare UK, and will work across the division’s entire product range including brands such as KitKat, Cesar, Sheba and Chappie.
Sambles replaces Gareth Helm who left the role in January after 12 months to launch his own consultancy business.
She says: “When most people think of Mars, they think of chocolate. They may be less aware that we are a leader in petcare feeding thousands of the UK domestic animals every single day through our brands.”
Mars’ petcare brands have a 37.5% share of the UK market, according to data from market research analysts SymphonyIRI.
Prior to joining the food company, Sambles spent five years at rival PepsiCo as marketing director for its Walkers crisps brand. At the start of the year she extended Gary Lineker’s contract with the brand until 2015, ending months of speculation that the former England striker’s 16 year association with the brand was coming to an end.
The pet food and supplies market grew by 18% between 2006 and 2011 to reach an estimated £2.7bn, according to research firm Mintel.
Sambles told Marketing Week that she wanted to develop marketing strategies that take Mars’ pet portfolio from “having really famous brands to having truly loved brands.”
She adds: “The main thing for me is to develop big, creative ideas that really have an impact on the petcare market. Part of that will involve me developing the pipeline of marketing talent already has in place at Mars with the aim of ultimately building even stronger brands.”