Ikea’s Peter Wright takes over as Specsavers CMO

Wright replaces Katherine Whitton, who announced her departure from the Guernsey-based business late last year.

SpecsaversSpecsavers has hired Peter Wright as its new chief marketing officer, poaching him from Swedish furniture brand Ikea.

Wright has nearly three decades’ experience in marketing. He started out as a graduate trainee at Diageo in 1988, where he progressed through the marketing function taking responsibility for a range of alcohol brands including Gordon’s Gin, Malibu and Drambuie.

After 11 years with Diageo he moved to the retail sector, first as marketing director of Tesco for eight years, before switching to chocolate brand Thorntons in 2007.

Wright joined Ikea as UK country marketing director in 2011 and, after rising through the ranks, was promoted to CMO in October 2018. Wright was thought to be the first British person to lead Ikea’s UK marketing team.

Wright was also behind the retailer’s ‘Wonderful Everyday’ campaign and a push for the company to become less secretive with the introduction of better storytelling. It is not yet known whether Ikea plans to replace him.

He takes over from former Specsavers CMO Katherine Whitton, who in November announced her intention to depart the Guernsey-based business to move back to the UK.

Specsavers CMO Katherine Whitton on her brand building legacy
During her relatively short three-year tenure, Whitton restructured the brand’s in-house agency and developed a new brand strategy, which included a refreshed visual identity, logo and global store format.

Specsavers’s in-house agency was behind the brand’s ‘Something to Smile About’ campaign in October. The TV campaign, supported by activity across out-of-home, print, digital and radio, aimed to illustrate the positive impact Specsavers has on people’s lives by helping them to see better.

More recently, the optician and eye-wear retailer launched ‘Amazing Sight’, a multi-channel campaign to remind people to book an eye-test online as lockdown restrictions ease. The campaign was borne out of consumer insight gathered by the business’ social listening and insight teams throughout the pandemic.

A family business for more than 30 years, Specsavers’s latest financial results for the year to 29 February 2020 reveal the company made an operating profit of £21m, up from £14.4m in 2019, while turnover increased 4.4% to £696.4m.

Both Wright and Whitton ranked among Marketing Week’s top 100 most effective marketers last year, marking Wright’s first inclusion on the list.