Virgin Group appoints Saatchi & Saatchi boss as CMO

Virgin Group has appointed Saatchi & Saatchi boss Ian Rowden as its new chief marketing officer, as it looks to place the Group’s brand at the heart of its global expansion strategy.

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Rowden is charged with driving the Virgin brand’s international expansion, including the opening of new ventures and expanding the company’s global brand team.

Virgin Group’s non-executive chairman said it was Rowden’s “entrepreneurial aptitude” that made him well suited to the Group’s growth strategy.

Rowden joins from Saatchi & Saatchi where had been the Asia Pacific region’s chairman and CEO since 2008. He also spent more than a decade at Coca-Cola in the 80s and 90s and has led marketing at fast food chain Wendy’s and Callaway Golf.

His appointment is the first senior hire by David Baxby and Josh Bayliss since they were appointed as co-CEOs in July.

The Virgin Group comprises of more than 400 branded companies worldwide, including Virgin Media and Virgin Active. Global branded revenue reached £13bn in 2010, according to the Group.

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