Virgin Media appoints former Tesco Mobile CMO to top marketing job

Simon Groves has been at O2 since 2018.

Virgin Media O2: merger was completed on 1 June
Virgin Media O2: merger was completed on 1 June

Virgin Media O2 has named Simon Groves as director of brand and marketing, following the departure from the company of O2’s Nina Bibby and Virgin Media’s Cilesta Van Doorn.

Groves has worked in roles linked to O2 for more than 20 years. He rejoined the brand in 2018 as commercial marketing director, consumer and SMB from Tesco Mobile – which uses O2’s network – where he had been chief marketing officer for six years. In December 2019 he was promoted to director of brand and marcoms.

Before joining Tesco, he spent 12 years at O2 in a series of roles, including director of brand, marketing and customer experience strategy for the last six of these.

In his new role at the recently merged company, Groves will report to chief operating officer Jeff Dodds and will lead on the company’s brand and marketing activities, including creative and campaigns, customer marketing, media, sponsorship and brand strategy.

His recent work for O2 includes the “Here comes brighter” campaign, and a collaboration with Fortnite Creative that saw Easy Life play a gig in a virtual version of The O2.

“Virgin Media O2 is the product of two iconic brands coming together and we launched with a clear mission to upgrade the UK,” Groves said.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Jeff and the team to bring the benefits of the new combined business to life for our customers, while continuing our drumbeat of campaigns and initiatives for Virgin Media and O2 respectively.”

Virgin Media O2 said that it would be launching joint services “soon”, though it looks likely to retain both brands. When rival telecoms company BT acquired mobile network EE in 2016, some commentators suggested the move was likely to lead to the disappearance of the EE brand – but five years later, it is still going strong.

Virgin Media O2 works with agencies including Adam & Eve/DDB and Manning Gottlieb OMD (for Virgin Media), VCCP and Havas Media (for O2).

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