EE marketing boss Pippa Dunn steps down as BT completes takeover

EE’s CMO Pippa Dunn is to leave the mobile operator as BT completes its acquisition of the mobile operator and questions remain over the future of the brand that Dunn helped to launch and build up.

Dunn has been with EE since 2003, first working in marketing for the Orange Group before becoming UK brand director. She previously worked for Virgin Media (then NTL) and at Coca-Cola in a number of marketing roles.

She took over as CMO in 2013, when brand chief Steve Day stood down, with a remit to widen awareness of the EE brand, which emerged following the 2010 merger between Orange and T-Mobile UK, and extend the appeal of 4G from early tech adopters to the mass market.

She has been successful on both those fronts. EE’s high-profile campaigns featuring Kevin Bacon have helped to raise awareness of the brand. It now sits second in a list of mobile operators behind just O2, according to YouGov BrandIndex’s index rating, which measures a range of metrics including quality, value and reputation.

It is also the biggest 4G operator in the UK market, claiming nearly 11 million 4G customers last summer.

EE marketing under BT

“It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, to leave EE at what is set to be super-exciting time for the business as it enters a new chapter with BT.”

Pippa Dunn, CMO, EE

“But I believe that this is the right time for me to try something completely different. I hand over to Marc [Allera] and his new team and wish them the very best of luck for the future,” she adds.

BT bought EE as it looks to aggressively target the quad-play market – meaning it will be able to offer customers TV, broadband, mobile and home phone services. It is not the only shake-up in the mobile market, with Three owner Hutchison Whampoa buying O2 from Spanish operator Telefonica.

EE is now expected to restructure following the BT acquisition and appointment of Marc Allera as CEO. He was previously the chief commercial officer but is taking over from boss Olaf Swantee now the deal has gone through.

While EE is not commenting on who will take over as marketing boss, Marketing Week understands that it will be someone from the EE marketing team and that EE will remain as a separate entity with its own marketing division, at least in the short term.

An announcement on her replacement is likely next week.

The EE brand under BT

However, speculation has been rife as to what will happen to the EE brand in the long term. Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson believes the only sensible decision is to get rid of EE in favour of BT despite the value of the EE brand and the millions pumped into building up the name.

He cites the fact that BT Group already runs a ‘branded house, different identity’ strategy which incorporates its consumer, wholesale and Openreach businesses.

“The idea that BT Group would sacrifice the strategic focus and inestimable synergies of this architecture to transform itself into a house of brands in order to accommodate EE in the long term is laughable,” he says.

“Expect EE to be gradually phased into the BT brand and ultimately to become just another short chapter in the history of telecommunications branding. Filed somewhere between Cellnet and Motorola.”