Woolworths starts hunt for marketing director

Woolworths is looking for a new marketing director following a sideways move by marketing chief Octavia Morley, who is taking up a more commercial role.

The retailer has called in head-hunters to find a replacement for Morley, who is moving to become commercial director for home, clothing and entertainment, with responsibility for buying and merchandising from next week. The marketing director’s position will remain board-level, and Morley’s successor will report to chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones.

Morley’s move follows disappointing trading figures for the retailer over the crucial Christmas period, with like-for-like sales up only 0.8 per cent for the eight weeks to January 10.

As marketing director, Morley oversaw a repositioning of the retailer around children and celebrations, moved the £25m advertising account out of Bates and into Bartle Bogle Hegarty (MW April 17, 2003) and brought in Mark Trinder as head of brand communications.

A spokeswoman for Woolworths says: “Octavia wanted a more commercial role. She’s a valued member of the management team.”

Her responsibility for the global brand licensing of the Ladybird brand passed to head of communications Nicole Lander four months ago.

Morley was made marketing chief in 2001, after a stint as head of clothing at the retailer. She joined the company in 2000 from Asda, where she had been managing director for home shopping. She has also worked at Laura Ashley as buying and merchandising director.

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