Pret A Manger has hired Just Eat’s former marketing boss Barnaby Dawe as its first chief customer officer as it looks for someone to lead its digital transformation.
Dawe will join Pret in the newly created role from 1 October. He will oversee all global marketing and communications activity, and lead its growing ecommerce business.
Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret, says: “I am delighted Barnaby is joining the senior team at Pret. He has the sensitivity and the experience to maintain continuity in Pret’s tone of voice whilst at the same time leading the company’s digital transformation. We look forward to working with him very much.”
Dawe adds: “As a loyal customer, I’ve long admired Pret for their coherent brand strategy and their outstanding customer service. I’m honoured to join the team and be a part of the next phase of their journey.”
Pret has been without a marketing boss since December 2017 when brand director Caroline Cromar left the business. She took on the top marketing role in 2016 following the departure of group marketing director Mark Palmer.
Pret has enjoyed considerable success in recent years, with sales up by 15% year on year to £776m in 2016, its most recent results. Earnings were up 11% to £93.2m and it now has more than 500 stores in six countries. It also won Marketing Week’s Brand of the Year at the Masters of Marketing awards in 2016.
However, it faces some major marketing challenges. In April, the ad regulator raised concerns over the use of the word “natural” in wording on its Facebook page and website. Pret has since altered that wording, but Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson said it raised issues over its brand positioning.
Dawe stepped down as Just Eat’s global CMO earlier this year after three years at the firm, during which time he was credited with “transforming” the brand and its approach to marketing. Joining in 2015, one of his first jobs was to oversee a rebrand , and he was subsequently responsible for signing a multi-year sponsorship deal with the X Factor.
Prior to Just Eat, Dawe held various senior marketing roles at brands including Sky, News UK and Channel 4.