Moss lands CEO role at The Number

Chris Moss, the man widely credited with creating the Orange brand, has landed the role of chief executive at The Number, the directory enquiries service that will operate the number 118 118.

Moss, who was Orange's first marketing director, is to oversee The Number's consumer launch, supported by a £16m ad campaign through WCRS.

The UK's £700m directory enquiries market is to be opened to competition in mid-December and the existing 192 number will be phased out next August.

New entrants are challenged with bringing greater efficiency and widening the services available. As well as offering company phone numbers and call connection, The Number promises to offer up-to-date information on travel and leisure services such as rail timetables, cinema listings and restaurant guides. Consumers will be able to search on the basis of categories as well as individual companies.

The Number, the UK brand name for US-based directories company InfoNxx, is embarking on an aggressive drive to recruit more than 1000 staff and operate three call centres in the UK.

InfoNxx bought the right to use 118 118 for its service for £2m from Leaf Telecom, which was handed the number in a lottery draw for directory enquiries numbers last May.

The Number is working with Naked on its media strategy, while media buying is handled by OMD UK. Irish company Conduit and BT Directories are the other major players in the sector.

Moss was marketing director at Orange from 1993 to 1995, prior to which he was marketing director at Virgin Atlantic. Moss will continue to take an active role in his brand consultancy Red Zebra, which rebranded OnDigital as ITV Digital.

Meanwhile, South African company CallEnt is in talks with advertising agencies to market its UK directory enquiries offering. It is understood to have hired former BT marketer Howard Sansom to oversee the launch.

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