Weetabix’s head of marketing Gareth Turner is parting ways with the brand to devote his time to expanding his marketing consultancy business.
He will be replaced by Lorraine Rothwell, a FMCG marketer who has held senior roles at Baxters Food Group, Aunt Bessies and Arla Foods, and has spent the last year as marketing and innovation director at Halo Foods.
Turner will leave Weetabix in July to set up Big Black Door, a consultancy based in Leeds and aimed at agencies and scale-up FMCG brands. He first established the consultancy in 2013 as a side project, but will now be making the business his primary focus.
Turner himself has over 20 years experience working in FMCG brands. He joined Weetabix as head of marketing in 2019, and during his three years at the brand has led several TV campaigns. Weetabix also won Marketing Week’s campaign of the year award in 2021 under Turner’s direction, with its viral social media campaign ‘Beans on ‘Bix’.
Since August last year, Turner and co-head of marketing Claire Canty have been acting up as the top marketers at Weetabix, sharing the responsibilities of marketing director Francesca Theokli while she is on maternity leave. Canty has since gone on maternity leave herself, while Theokli will return in autumn this year. ‘We’re not shying away from spend’: How Weetabix plans to build on 2021 successBefore he joined Weetabix, Turner worked at Arla Foods for more than seven years. He began his time at the company as senior brand manager at Lurpak working his way up to the company’s head of brand operations in Europe.
Turner also spent time at Heineken from 2005 to 2012. During this time he oversaw the launch of beer brand John Smith’s advertising campaign featuring Peter Kay, as well as the relaunch of the Bulmer’s cider brand. He held various positions at Heineken, including senior brand manager of modern cider.
With Big Black Door, Turner aims to “make a difference” to agencies and FMCG businesses by passing on the knowledge he has gained through his career.
“I’ve been lucky enough to lead some of the UK’s biggest and best loved brands for over 20 years and have had the benefit of blue chip FMCG marketing training,” he says.
“I’m now able to pass this knowledge on to other businesses, especially scale-ups.”
Weetabix on why consistency is key to stay one step ahead
The consultancy will offer a client perspective to agencies, and “a shot of boardroom experience” to brands that are growing, he adds.
The consultancy will also focus on cultivating better relationships between clients and agencies, something that Turner says he has long been an advocate of. He plans to publish a white paper on the topic, after finding through a survey of 65 brand and agency leaders that a “lack of mutual understanding” was the number one reason for poor relationships.
“Whether it’s budget, KPIs or the pressures that the other side are experiencing back in their businesses, there were some toe-curling stories illustrating the state of the worst relationships. So, I’ve developed a set of tools to help agencies and clients work better together, to ultimately improve marketing results,” he says.
On her return, marketing director Theokli will continue to lead the long-term brand strategy for Weetabix and its portfolio.