Ryanair appoints first CMO

Ryanair has appointed former Moneysupermarket marketing chief Kenny Jacobs as its first chief marketing officer as the budget airline steps up its charm offensive to win over disgruntled customers that have switched to rivals and increase annual passenger numbers from 80 million to 110 million over the next five years.

Video: Ryanair’s ‘We are Changing’ Irish TV ad

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjfmjznXksU

Jacobs will join Ryanair on 31 January and will be responsible for group sales, marketing and communications.

He will report into Ryanair’s vociferous CEO Michael O’Leary and it is understood he replace his boss – who memorably in the past labelled customers “stupid” for forgetting to print off their boarding pass and told people looking for a refund to “f*** off” – as the main spokesperson for the airline in all markets. 

O’Leary says Jacobs will bring a “new and fresh impetus” to Ryanair’s marketing activities over the coming months as it rolls out significant customer service improvements, including a new website from April and the launch of a mobile app at the end of June.

Prior to joining Moneysupermarket in 2012, Jacobs was Tesco’s UK brand communications director and he also previously held the role of the supermarket’s Ireland marketing director.  

The news of Jacobs’ appointment comes in the same week Ryanair launched a TV and outdoor marketing campaign carrying the strapline “we are changing”.

The budget carrier has introduced a raft of other customer service improvements in recent months, following two profit warnings in 2013. Changes introduced include a 24-hour grace period to change minor booking errors, the introduction of early morning “quiet flights” with nothing other than security announcements, a cut in baggage fees and a relaxation of its hand luggage rules. 

Ryanair also announced a number of other changes to its management team today (17 January) including the promotion of deputy director of flight operations Peter Bellew, who yesterday took part in a Twitter Q&A for the brand, to head of sales and marketing and the promotion of its former head of sales and marketing Lesley Kane to become Ryanair’s new head of groups and corporate sales.

Read Marketing Week’s November Ryanair Brand Audit

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