Matt Atkinson ditches Saga to lead Co-op membership

Matt 2Saga chief marketing officer Matt Atkinson has quit the organisation to join the Co-operative Group as chief membership officer, just months after overseeing  the digital transformation of the over-50s brand in an effort to move away from its fusty pipe and slippers image.
Atkinson started his career agency side, working at Saatchi & Saatchi, and Interfocus before becoming boss of Havas Helia. He then landed the plumb job of group marketing and digital officer at Tesco in June 2011.
He was promoted to chief marketing officer 18 months later, but the role was axed in December 2014, although he continued to work for the retailer on a consultancy basis.
Atkinson joined Saga in September 2015 and in July this year unveiled a new membership scheme, called Possibilities, a rebrand for Saga Holidays and the introduction of the organisation’s first strapline, “Keep doing”.
At the Co-op, he will be responsible for membership, digital, data, brand marketing, communications and community, and campaigning.
It is not known how the appointment will affect Rufus Olins, the former Haymarket Publishing chief who joined the Co-op last year. According to his LinkedIn profile, Olins is group director of community and campaigns.
Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells said: “I’m delighted to welcome Matt to our Co-op to help us on our journey to become the most loved membership business in the U.K. Our new Membership is now a year old and in the first half of our financial year paid back £35 million to members and their local communities,”
“Matt’s experience and expertise will build on this, making Membership even more compelling and returning our Co-op to a campaigning movement.”
Last year, Co-operative relaunched its loyalty scheme as part of plans to give £100m a year back to members and communities and distance itself from its recent scandals.

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