The Co-op restructures marketing department

The Co-operative Group is to merge its existing buying and marketing teams in its food business under a single leadership and axe the role of director of food marketing.

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Changes will also see a switch in emphasis from corporate brand marketing to operational and commercial activity within each of the Co-op’s major businesses: Food, Pharmacy, Travel, Bank, Legal Services, Funeralcare and Insurance.

The Group marketing department will restructure so that the responsibility for day-to-day brand delivery, research and management is moved to each business unit in a move that mirrors the Group’s travel and financial services businesses.

The Group marketing department will retain a monitoring and governance role to ensure the Co-op’s universal brand standards are maintained across the Group.

Patrick Allen will head up the Group marketing department in the role of director of marketing with an increased focus on the development of customer propositions relevant to its growing membership base.

The new food department will be headed by Sean Toal who will move from his existing role as director of food retail operations to take the title of commercial director. A number of roles including director of food retail marketing held by Debbie Robinson and director of food retail trading held by David Messom are to go.

Within the group marketign fucntion positions to be axed include head of brand, head of identity and standards development, head of customer strategy and head of brand communications.

Patrick Allen, Group marketing director, says: “Over the past few years The Co-operative has re-emerged as one of the strongest and most successful brands in the UK, measured by a number of key performance indicators including commercial success, consumer trust and customer advocacy. The Group Marketing Department has played a vital role in establishing this position. The changes announced today, whilst regrettable in the areas where individual roles are impacted, are nevertheless necessary to further support the Co-operative Group and ensure that business momentum is sustained.”

The retail chain is currently in the process of reviewing its advertising and media agencies but it’s not clear how the restructure will affect the review.

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