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I came across an interesting story yesterday (5 September). Carnival UK have created a new post, Chief Commercial Officer, with responsibility for commercial and marketing activities for P&O Cruises and Cunard. The position will be filled by Gerard Tempest, who’s currently sales & marketing director with Whitbread Hotels. Among other things, he’s been responsible for the Premier Inn brand which has of course seen significant growth in recent years.

So far, so good – it’s not surprising that Carnival UK would want to have a single person responsible for marketing their main brands. But the significant thing is the new hierarchy that is being created. Mr Tempest will report directly to David Dingle who is Carnival UK’s managing director, while Carol Marlowe (MD P&O), Peter Shanks (MD Cunard) and Nigel Esdale (Commercial director, Carnival UK) will in future report to Mr Tempest instead of direct to David Dingle as they currently do.

Marketing Week has some comments from David Dingle including these:

“In a world where we continue to continue to grow and expand our business, where the consumer world is faster moving than ever before and we probably have stronger competition than we have ever had before, we need to add more firepower to the team. As CEO, I’m responsible for a wide range of activities and we really need to consolidate all commercial and marketing activities under a single leadership.

The appointment also ensures that those areas are better coordinated than may be the case currently. It will certainly make sure the key strands hold together. There are some particular areas where I need greater expertise than maybe currently exists in the business and one of most important in moving the business forward is our digital strategy.”

Those comments: “….better coordinated than may be the case currently”; “particular areas where I need greater expertise than maybe currently exists in the business….” are pretty frank and sound like a bit of a slap in the face for the current brand management. It also sounds like he wants a more co-ordinated approach, so perhaps we will see less brand independence in future. I wonder what the results of that might be? At the moment Cunard and P&O have very different policies, and as a result they do appeal to different segments of the UK market. If they present a more unified approach then that will be less so. But I’m sure Mr Tempest knows all about this, even though he has never worked in the cruise industry before.

Gerard Tempest will take up his new appointment in early December.

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