Whitbread Beer Company has merged its sales and marketing directorships, allowing sales director Stewart Gilliland to take on both responsibilities.
The move follows the promotion of , John Derkach, marketing director since 1994, to managing director of Whitbread’s Beefeater restaurant chain.
Whitbread denies that blending the two roles demonstrates a reduced focus on marketing.
A spokeswoman comments: “Gilliland’s new role reflects the vital importance of recognising and responding to both customer and consumer demands. Closer integration of the two departments will enable us to develop the company’s brands successfully.”
Gilliland, who will carry the title marketing and sales director, will oversee Stella Artois, the biggest beer brand in the country, as well as Boddingtons, Murphy’s, Labatt’s and Heineken.
Aged 41, he has worked for Whitbread for 13 years following a spell at Pedigree Petfoods. He was first appointed to the beer company’s board as director of take-home sales. In June 1996, he was promoted to sales director with responsibility for both on-trade sales (in pubs and bars) and off-trade sales (in off-licences and supermarkets).
It is unclear what effect the merging of the directorships will have on the sales and marketing departments individually.
The marketing department has already had one reshuffle, which took place following the departure of Derkach and marketing controller for Stella Artois Tracey Darwen, who left to join Whitbread’s media buying agency, Motive Communications.