Specsavers appoints UK trading director to lead restructured marketing team

The new marketing boss will also oversee product, category and corporate sales teams, as former marketing director Chris Carter takes on a group strategy role.

SpecsaversSpecsavers has restructured its UK and Ireland marketing team, handing overall responsibility for the function to newly appointed board trading director Neil Hollins, Marketing Week can reveal.

The team was formerly led by marketing and ecommerce director Chris Carter, who has transitioned out of marketing into a group role as strategic transformation director. Carter previously held the regional trading director title, before becoming marketing director two years ago. Both roles were board level.

Reinstating a trading director at the head of the marketing team brings the UK in line with the regional structure used in other global markets, Specsavers says. Hollins will also oversee product, category and corporate sales teams, with the aim to bring together a “coordinated proposition and offer to customers” as well as “the best value and affordability”.

The optical retail chain is in the process of hiring a marketing director for optics and domiciliary, while head of marketing activation Victoria Clarke has been promoted to marketing services director. Peter Wright remains group CMO, overseeing the group-wide marketing framework.

Hollins joined Specsavers in 2018 as trading director for Northern Europe. He previously spent eight and a half years at Dixons Carphone, largely in general management positions, but latterly as CMO. He formed part of the team which oversaw the merger with Carphone Warehouse.Salary Survey 2023: Brands opt for restructures and specialist skills to survive turmoil

“I’m delighted to be taking on this role as we align our structure globally and adapt the way we run the marketing team to better reflect today’s business,” he says.

According to data revealed this month by Marketing Week’s exclusive 2023 Career and Salary Survey, 41.1% of more than 3,000 brand marketers have seen new team structures introduced into the marketing department over the past 12 months, as brands look for ways to weather the current economic headwinds.

While this figure is down on the 56.5% of marketers responding to last year’s survey who had witnessed restructures, the number suggests many brands are still working out how best to position their teams for growth.

Last year, former marketing director Carter told Marketing Week about Specsavers’ journey to create a culture of professional development within marketing, after recognising that its talent pipeline was lacking at all levels. The brand was also experiencing “talent deficiencies” in digitally oriented roles, he said.

To tackle the problem, Specsavers took a “renewed view” on personal development, introduced formalised programmes for upskilling and wider recruitment, and built a leadership development initiative.