Merlin drafts in former John Lewis chief as first CMO

cfraigMerlin Entertainments, the global company behind Alton Towers, Legoland, Madame Tussauds, Sea Life Centres, London Eye and Blackpool Tower, has appointed as it first-ever chief marketing officer, completing its new executive leadership team.

Craig Inglis joins next month, after a three-year spell running his own consultancy. Prior to that he was executive vice-president of Sage although he is perhaps best known for his 12-year spell at John Lewis, where he held a number of roles including customer director, marketing director and head of brand communications. He left in April 2020.

Inglis has also held senior marketing roles at TUI, Virgin, and The Entertainer Group.

At Merlin, he will be tasked with overseeing the company’s brand and marketing strategy, using data-driven insights to deliver customer and brand impact.

The firm insists his appointment signals the brand’s renewed emphasis on global marketing for experiences and branded entertainment destinations.

Merlin chief operating officer for resort theme parks and gateway attractions Fiona Eastwood said: “We are thrilled to welcome Craig to our executive leadership team as we continue to innovate in the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment. Craig’s visionary leadership and strategic prowess will be instrumental in redefining how we connect and communicate with our guests worldwide, before, during and after their visit.

“The role will be integral as we redefine our own Merlin brand as well as the brands we bring to life in our attractions. Craig’s credentials and his leading role at The Marketing Society highlight his award-winning knowledge and experience. Craig understands the power of consumer engagement and I know he will challenge, drive, and revolutionise how we market and advertise to our guests in the future.”

Inglis added: “I am delighted to join Merlin Entertainments as the company’s first CMO. With a purpose to create joy, connections, and memories, this was an easy decision to make in taking up such an exciting role at a true global leader in branded entertainment.

“Merlin’s commitment to innovation aligns perfectly with my own passion for harnessing creativity to reimagine brands. Together, we will push boundaries, challenge conventions, and create experiences that captivate the hearts and minds of our guests and audiences around the world.”

Last June, Sarah Venning joined the company as chief digital and data officer from Pret A Manger, where she has been global digital officer since 2019, leading the company’s digital transformation.

She is tasked with co-leading business transformation efforts and “focus on bringing together the key areas in Merlin’s technology, data, and digital capabilities to build a world-class digital strategy and deliver a seamless digital experience for guests and over 30,000 Merlin team members”.

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