Try this on for size: ’Cable & Wireless announced today that its
marketing director, Ruth Blakemore, will be leaving the company
following the decision that the marketing department will report to Greg
Clarke, chief operating officer. This move will ensure the co-ordination
of the brand launch activities with the customer communications carried
out by the individual business units.’
Compare it with Blakemore’s words in Campaign on her appointment to the
post earlier this year: ’I was very flattered that Graham (Wallace,
C&W’s chief executive) thought somebody like me, who is not technically
traditional in approach or what you would expect in a company like this,
was the best candidate. It shows they appreciate my way of working.’
News of the first statement, taken from a press release last Thursday,
spread quickly around the agencies that pitched unsuccessfully for C&W’s
pounds 25 million launch campaign. One theory is that Blakemore’s recent
appointment of Rapier Stead & Bowden to the launch campaign has been
questioned at C&W board level.
This is the contentious angle the industry loves, but it is not the
Blakemore’s hiring of Rapier, her working with Michaelides & Bednash for
strategic media advice, and her overall strategy have met with
board-level approval and the campaign is now at implementation stage. So
there must be another explanation.
The key lies in Blakemore’s maverick personal style. An ambitious
marketer who likes her own way, she questioned the business units
structure within C&W - some of the marketing budget is controlled by
them, and some by the marketing department - and proposed an
alternative. Clarke, clearly, did not concur.
Blakemore’s departure comes at a time when C&W needs a single-minded
focus for its four newly merged companies. The litmus test will be
whether its strategy and Rapier’s implementation will lead to a
successful launch campaign.