East Coast trains poaches First Direct's Cowen for top marketing role

East Coast Mainline, the Government-owned rail operator, has poached former First Direct head of brand and communications Natalie Cowen to head up its marketing.

East Coast: Vic Reeves stars in TV campaign
East Coast: Vic Reeves stars in TV campaign

Cowen fills East Coast's top marketing position of head of marketing, which has been vacant since Rob Payne left earlier this year.

East Coast Main Line is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Directly Operated Railways (DOR), which comes under the remit of Patrick McLoughlin, the secretary of state for transport.

Cowen held the role of head of brand and communications at First Direct from 2010.

The internet-based banking brand said Lisa Wood, its head of marketing, would oversee Cowen's duties while a permanent replacement was sought.

While at First Direct, Cowen led the development of digital marketing and the overhaul of First Direct's website, in a bid to increase the brand's online dialogue with consumers.

In September last year, First Direct's former head of marketing Mark Mullen returned to the bank to become its chief executive.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).