CAREERS: Which way up for high fliers? - Last week’s announcement that Bradford & Bingley building society had appointed a marketer as commercial director once more puts this promotion route under the spotlight

Where to go when you’ve reached the heady heights of marketing director is a dilemma many a brand manager would be all too happy to face. However, if the career goes well it’s a decision that may have to be made.

Where to go when you’ve reached the heady heights of marketing

director is a dilemma many a brand manager would be all too happy to

face. However, if the career goes well it’s a decision that may have to

be made.

Ultimately there are about four choices, according to David MacKenzie,

director of London marketing at Michael Page. These are: commercial

director/ general management; joining one of the big six consultancies;

starting your own business; or continuing in marketing and aiming for

group level.

Ruth Blakemore has extensive experience in marketing: she worked for

Virgin Atlantic; ran her own company; and held the top marketing

position at Bell Cablemedia. When that firm merged with Mercury

Communications and two other cable companies earlier this year, she was

given the top marketing position.

However, her tenure at Cable & Wireless was brief - only four months -

and now Bradford & Bingley, one of the largest building societies

sticking with its mutual status, has appointed her as commercial


A B&B spokesman says: ’As commercial director, marketing is part of

Blakemore’s brief, but she has commercial experience, so the title is

partly to reflect that.’

Blakemore will be expected to see through some ambitious growth


Bradford & Bingley intends to expand the business by 50% over the next

four years, taking its assets from about pounds 20bn to pounds 30bn.

MacKenzie considers the commercial director route ideal for marketers

with more than ten years’ experience, as it gives them the opportunity

to learn the extra skills needed to progress to the position of managing

director, such as operations, customer service and finance.


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