This Much I Learned: Former Debenhams CMO Abi Comber on thriving in a crisis

In the latest episode of Marketing Week’s podcast series, Abi Comber discusses her journey from Boohoo’s £55m acquisition of Debenhams to her new role at the heart of Covid testing.

A marketer with two decades’ worth of experience in the industry, Abi Comber has had to draw on her years of marketing knowledge to get through the past 18 months.

She joined Debenhams in January 2020, just two months before the first national lockdown and a period of intense suffering for the UK high street. In her role as CMO, Comber pivoted the department store chain quickly towards digital, embracing the importance of CRM and adjusting to the rapid casualisation of fashion in a world of remote work.

She then navigated Debenhams through its £55m sale to ecommerce site Boohoo, a deal based on the strength of the retailer’s 243-year old brand.

Having left the world of retail, Comber is now CMO at accredited Covid-19 screening service, Cignpost Diagnostics. She is responsible for building Cignpost Diagnostics into a trusted brand for business clients and the general public alike, pushing the message that Covid testing can “unlock” people’s worlds.

In this podcast, Comber discusses the challenge of becoming Debenhams CMO at the onset of the pandemic, the power of structured planning and why her current role is a marketer’s “dream job”.

From opening up about mental health issues to closing the career confidence gap, you can listen to previous episodes of Marketing Week’s This Much I Learned podcast on Apple PodcastsSoundcloud and Spotify.



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