Morrisons top marketer to depart business after less than three months in role

Darren Blackhurst was appointed to the role of chief customer and marketing officer at the supermarket in March, while Rachel Eyre is on maternity leave

MorrisonsMorrisons’ most senior marketer is to depart the business despite having taken on the role just a few months ago.

Darren Blackhurst is the supermarket’s interim chief customer and marketing officer. He joined the business in mid-March and was hired to fill the role while chief customer and marketing officer Rachel Eyre was on maternity leave.

Less than three months after joining the business, Blackhurst has now decided to depart. He had worked at Morrisons previously between 2015 and 2019, holding the role of group commercial director, followed by group director for strategic priorities. He left Morrisons to become CEO for liquor at Australian supermarket Coles.

Blackhurst was appointed to the role by Morrisons CEO Rami Baitiéh, who took the helm of the supermarket back in November 2023. The CEO has expressed dissatisfaction with the financial performance of Morrisons in recent years, after it made a £1bn loss in 2023.

Despite the losses last year, the business did step up its marketing spend by around a fifth (21%) in 2023. It invested in a new platform that brought back the ‘More Reasons to Shop at Morrisons’ tagline, as Eyre admitted the supermarket had been “playing it too safe”.

Morrisons increased marketing spend by a fifth in 2023 despite £1bn loss

In September 2022, Morrisons lost its position in the top four biggest supermarkets by market share in the UK, with it been displaced by discounter Aldi. It has thus far failed to regain that position.

In 2024, Morrisons’ marketing team has launched a price match with Aldi and Lidl, designed to be a straightforward way for the supermarket to convey value to shoppers.

It is also celebrating its 125th anniversary, with a new ad, ‘Over the counter, over the years’ which it launched today (17 June).

Blackhurst’s key roles as interim chief customer and marketing officer were to be the company’s pricing strategy, driving its trade agenda and the Morrisons Media Group, Baitiéh said on his appointment.

It is unclear who will now lead the marketing function while Eyre is on maternity leave. The supermarket declined to comment on its plans.