Morrisons’ marketing boss departs as struggling retailer shakes up senior management team

Morrisons’ group customer marketing and digital director Nick Collard has left the retailer as new boss David Potts reshapes the struggling supermarket’s brand identity.

Collard, who will be replaced on an interim basis by own brand and sourcing director Andy Atkinson, follows Morrisons’ – which reported a pre-tax profit of £345m for the year ending 1 February 2015, down 52% over the previous year – pledge to ‘redefine’ its marketing spend.

Earlier this month, Morrisons’ chairman Andrew Higginson said the brand must ‘regain its quirkiness and warmth.’ Higginson said Potts will be tasked with making the message of ads ‘clearer’ as the business aims to reverse a significant slump in sales.

Morrisons also recently decided to end its multimillion-pound advertising deal with TV stars Ant and Dec, just two years after it was originally signed.

Five departures

Today, Morrisons also announced the departures of retail director Martyn Fletcher, property and strategy director Gordon Mowat, group logistics director Neal Austin, and convenience boss Nigel Robertson. In total, the five departures represent half of Morrisons’ senior management team.

Robertson’s departure follows the big four supermarket’s decision to close 23 underperforming M Local convenience stores and the admission that its convenience offer was underperforming, earlier this month.

“I will now be constructing a leaner Management Board, with the aim of simplifying and speeding up the business,” said chief executive David Potts, who is now one of three former Tesco executives running Morrisons, alongside chairman Andrew Higginson and finance director Trevor Strain.

“I would like to thank Nick, Martyn, Neil, Nigel and Gordon for their service to Morrisons,” he added.

Despite the slew of senior departures, Ross Eggleton and Miles Foster will continue to lead logistics and the M local chain respectively, while Clare Grainger has been appointed as interim retail director.

Morrisons declined to comment on how much bigger the management board will become when, or if, replacements arrive.