Ex-Barclaycard marketing chief Whitton joins 'marketing geniuses' of Specsavers as Holmes exits

Barclaycard's former chief marketer Katherine Whitton is joining Specsavers to replace the outgoing veteran global brand director Richard Holmes.

Ex-Barclaycard marketing chief Whitton joins 'marketing geniuses' of Specsavers as Holmes exits

Holmes is retiring from the high street opticians giant after 11 years with the company and is credited with developing the brand across international markets, as well as building its online presence and improving in-store design.

Whitton, pictured above, left Barclaycard last year following a restructure and will join Specsavers in May.

She joined the credit card brand in 2009 and oversaw its 50th anniversary campaign in 2016 in which Barclaycard looked back to its first marketing activity in 1966 when it presented itself as an "enabler of shopping". 

Before Barclaycard she was head of global and marketing communications at British Airways and previously held a number of senior brand and marketing positions during nine years at American Express.

One of her first jobs at Specsavers will be to oversee the company’s media agency review. The brand, which spends an estimated £45m a year on media and uses Manning Gottlieb OMD, contacted agencies last month about its intention to review the business this year. 

Whitton said of Specsavers: "It’s an impressive company wrapped up in a powerful brand, unique business model and a truly supportive and empowering culture. I look forward to the challenge of evolving the brand and marketing model to support the business’ ambition to continue to grow and innovate in the consumer healthcare sector."

Holmes joined Specsavers following the exit of Andrew Molle in 2007, who had also been with the company for 11 years. Molle was responsible for introducing the "Should’ve gone to Specsavers" tagline, which was created in 2002 by the brand’s in-house agency Specsavers Creative and is one of the UK’s longest-running ad campaigns.

Having joined Specsavers just before the financial crisis took hold in 2008, the company’s joint chief executive John Perkins said Holmes was a "fantastic source of advice and support" and helped the brand emerge from the other side of the crisis as "a much stronger business".

Holmes said of Specsavers: "There are many talented creative and marketing geniuses at the heart of this business who will continue to drive its fame, brand love and customer loyalty." 

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