Premier Foods drafts in Sainsbury’s Harrison-Church as top marketer

Premier Foods has hired former Sainsbury’s brand chief Claire Harrison-Church as its top marketer as the food company steps up its strategy of putting money behind the brands with the greatest growth potential.

PremierFoodsBrands

Harrison-Church has taken on the newly created role of director of strategic marketing with oversight or marketing and media strategy and PR. In effect, she replaces group marketing director Jon Goldstone, who was ousted as part of a wider restructure in February.

She left Sainsbury’s in December 2011 where she was said to have been responsible for the development of its “Live Well for Less” brand positioning. Prior to the supermarket, she held senior marketing roles at Boots, KFC and Unilever.

The Hovis, Ambrosia and Mr Kipling maker has also appointed Helen Warren-Piper as business director for savoury brands such as Bisto and Batchelors. She will have day-to-day responsibility for the marketing teams working on these brands.

The hires come as Premier Foods steps up marketing activity for its eight “power brands”. In January, the company announced it would double marketing spend on the core brands to £50m this year to grow sales.

The investment in marketing is part of a wider strategy to boost income and help offset the impact of its ballooning debt. It has also sold a number of brands and axed hundreds of jobs to cut costs.

Last month, it claimed its decision to throw its marketing budget behind brands it thinks have the greatest growth potential led to a 1.1% uplift in first-half sales.

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