Sainsbury’s loses marketing and brand chiefs

Sainsbury’s marketing plans have been thrown into disarray after it emerged that marketing director designate Mark Horgan is no longer joining and brand director Claire Harrison-Church is stepping down.

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Former 118 118 chief executive Horgan, who was due to join Sainsbury’s as its most senior marketer in January, has decided not to join for “personal reasons”, the supermarket says.

Harrison-Church, who leads Sainsbury’s brand communications strategy and was responsible for the launch of its “Live Well for Less” brand positioning in September, will leave in February “to pursue other opportunities” after three years at Sainsbury’s. It is not known if she has a job to go to.

The departures, which a spokesman insists are unrelated, leave the supermarket without senior brand and marketing chiefs at a time when competition among the big four supermarkets is intensifying.

Sainsbury’s is battling with Tesco, Asda and Morrisons for customers that are shopping around for bargains amid rising living costs. All have launched price-based marketing initiatives in the past four months.  

Group commercial director of Sainsbury’s, Mike Coupe will oversee the marketing team until a replacement is found. It is not yet known if Harrison-Church will be replaced.

The supermarket has been operating without a marketing director for 18 months since Gwyn Burr was promoted to the then new customer service and colleague director role last July.

Separately, Sainsbury’s corporate communications director Mark Rigby is also to leave. He will be replaced by Alex Cole, former MD of Freud Communications.

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