Toyota GB is poised to appoint the company’s European marketing director John Williams as a replacement for former commercial director Paul Philpott, who has left to join Kia UK.
It is understood that Williams went up against Lexus’ European marketing director Paul van der Burgh for the role, which is one of the most high-profile jobs in the UK car industry. Sources say that Williams is the clear frontrunner.
A spokeswoman refuses to comment on the appointment but it is thought that Williams will be announced as Philpott¹s successor later this week.
Philpott resigned from Toyota after nine years at the company earlier this month, as exclusively revealed on marketingweek.co.uk, and will join Kia UK as managing director on February 5.
Although Williams is Toyota’s European marketing director, he does not have overall responsibility for marketing because he reports to senior vice-president for sales and marketing director Andrea Formica.
The UK is one of Toyota’s leading markets, and sales have doubled from about 60,000 to more than 120,000 in the past ten years. The commercial director¹s role is the top marketing job at the company, and marketing director Mark Hall will report to Williams.
In his first interview since his appointment at Kia was made public, Philpott tells Marketing Week that making the Kia brand more desirable is one of his main priorities.
“Kia is a very ambitious company without a very clear sales and marketing strategy and with a fairly poorly defined brand,” he says. “The development of the Kia brand from pretty much a blank sheet of paper is one of my primary tasks for the next three years.”