New Consignia Broom Sweeps Clean: 50 UK Marketing Jobs to Go

19 September 2002

Around fifty marketing and sales job – many at senior level – are to be swept away at Britain's Consignia - soon to revert to its original branding as the Royal Mail Group.

Chairman Allan Leighton, former Asda boss and ubiquitous boardroom occupant, is currently facing a loss of £1.5 million ($2.33m; €2.37m) a day and is determined to drag the massive organization out of its nineteenth century mindset and back into the black.

In a move designed to shake-up the group’s Post Office Counters business, Leighton has promoted relative newcomer Gordon Steele to the new position of sales and marketing director with a brief to oversee a radical rethink of the unit’s commercial function.

Says Steele: “We are the largest retail network in Western Europe and it is time we started acting like it. The Post Office needs a professional sales and marketing function, a more direct approach to market and a more effective communications strategy. My job is to ensure we have the right people in the right jobs.”

His first move is to meld the twin roles of head of brand marketing and head of brand communications, respectively occupied by Deborah Maxwell and Rob Durrant. Both have been invited to apply for the single integrated post.

Steele is also creating a number of new research/planning and sales/marketing functions – the latter responsible for category and product management. The senior executives for each function – yet to be appointed – will report direct to Steele.

New marketing bosses are a classic allergen triggering sweaty palms syndrome at ad agencies – and the Kleenex is likely to be much in evidence right now at Publicis and Optimedia, between them responsible for the unit’s £15 million account.

Operationally, the counters business is under scrutiny by group chief executive David Mills who joined from HSBC in April with a modernization remit.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff