Danone man takes Western Union job

Western Union, the international money transfer service, has hired Danone marketer Marc Audrit as its top marketer for Western Europe after a series of senior European-level departures.

Audrit takes the newly created role of director of marketing services, Western Europe, based in Paris. His hiring follows the departure of Roger Ringwood, Western Union's former vice-president of marketing for Europe, who was promoted in January to vice-president for Southern Europe.

Ringwood, who was behind Western Union's sponsorship deal with Manchester United in 1998, left about three months ago and is not thought to have had a job to go to.

In July Christine Gandon, director of customer relationship marketing for EMEA and Asia Pacific, also resigned and she has not been replaced.

Audrit will be responsible for setting Western Union's brand strategy across the region. This will be implemented by individual country marketing directors, including the UK's head of marketing John Campbell.

Audrit spent the past three years as Danone's worldwide brand director for fresh dairy products, overseeing strategic and creative development in more than 30 countries. Prior to that he spent several years at creative agencies, including D'Arcy, Lintas, DDB, Publicis and Young & Rubicam working on accounts including Smirnoff, Ericsson and Ford.

His appointment comes as Western Union plans a new UK TV campaign.

It has also recently signed Sanjeev Bhaskar, host of BBC Two comedy chat show The Kumars at No 42, as the voice of its radio campaign (Marketing, July 11). The ad was recorded in both English and Hindi, to air on ethnic stations.

The company is well-known for its sponsorship of the Notting Hill Carnival over the past three years, but is not involved with the street festival this year. Instead it has developed links with ten other UK carnivals, including those in Manchester and Leeds.

D'Arcy has handled all European ads for Western Union out of its London office since 1996. The company spent around £600,000 in the UK last year.

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