Woolworths creates new group marketing role

By Paul McIntyre and David Blight | 7 September 2012

In a clear precursor to a more aggressive marketing stance, Woolworths Limited has created a new group marketing director role for the entire company, with a Tesco Lotus marketing guru to take on the high-ranking position. 

The board of the ASX-listed company has enlisted the chief marketing officer of Asian hypermarket chain Tesco Lotus, Kurt Kamp, who is set to join the company later in the month. 

The new role, potentially the most senior marketing position the company has ever created, will sit above Woolworths’ vast list of assets, which includes Woolworths supermarkets, retail chain Big W, liquor stores BWS and Dan Murphy’s, Masters Home Improvement, hotels and petrol stations, to name just a few. 

A Woolworths spokesperson said: “Kurt will play a key role partnering our senior business teams in the development and implementation of customer-led, marketing and brand strategies.” 

He will answer to Woolworths Limited managing director and chief executive Grant O’Brien. The creation of the senior role indicates the board’s desire to focus more heavily on competitive marketing strategies at a group level, particularly in the face of increased pressure from rivals Coles and Wesfarmers. 

Kamp will be more senior than Luke Dunkerley, who was promoted last year from general manager of marketing at the supermarket level to general manager of consumer and corporate marketing for the Woolworths group. 

AdNews understands Dunkerley’s remit now focuses entirely on the corporate component of the role. However, it is also understood Dunkerley may not report directly to Kamp, and that he will continue to report to O’Brien. 

Last month, the group reported net profit after tax for the 2011/12 financial year was down 14.5% year-on-year to $1.8 billion, while net profit from continuing operations after tax increased 3.6% to $2.1 billion. Total group sales for the period were up 4.7%. 

At the time, O’Brien said: “We set clear priorities in November 2011 to extend leadership in food and liquor, maximise shareholder value in our portfolio, maintain our record of building new growth businesses and put in place the enablers for a new era of growth.” 

It appears the creation of the group chief marketing position and the appointment of Kamp might be one of the “enablers” O’Brien referred to. 

Kamp has previously held senior marketing roles at PepsiCo, Danone and Hero, among others.

This article first appeared in the 7 September 2012 print edition of AdNews. Click here to subscribe for more news, features and opinion.

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