The future of Tesco marketing chief Matt Atkinson is looking decidedly shaky following reports – subsequently denied by boss Philip Clarke – that he is set to pay the price for the retailer’s faltering turnaround.
Yesterday, Sky News claimed Clarke is poised to appoint a new chief marketing officer in place of Atkinson, who joined from Havas EHS two years ago and took the top marketing role just over 12 months later, succeeding Tim Mason. It claimed Atkinson would be sidelined into another role.
However, a report in today’s Times says Clarke has backed Atkinson in an email to staff, adding that the retailer may look to strengthen the team but there are no plans to hire further senior marketing executives.
The move follows the resignation of chief financial officer Laurie McIlwee, amid reports of a fall-out with Clarke, who initiated the first clear-out of top executives – including Clubcard boss Ian Crook – last summer.
Former Havas EHS group chief executive Atkinson initially joined Tesco as group marketing and digital officer, and was a major figure in the development and subsequent launch last year of the Hudl tablet device.
Known throughout the DM industry as one of the “ultimate suits”, Atkinson had worked closely with Tesco for over seven years as Havas EHS is Tesco’s lead direct marketing agency. Tesco is currently hunting a second agency to work alongside Havas EHS.
He joined the agency, then known as EHS Brann, in January 2004, having been head of integration at Saatchi & Saatchi. Prior to Saatchi, Atkinson was chief executive of Interfocus and before that, he was managing director of Tequila.
Tesco declined to comment on the reports.
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