NTL axes Hounsell in major cutbacks

LONDON - NTL has axed the role of chief marketing officer Mike Hounsell and cut its central marketing team from 55 people to eight as part of a radical overhaul to reduce its £15bn debt mountain.

The company is also slashing its 2002 marketing budget from £65m to around £10m and scaling back national advertising to concentrate marketing activity on its six regional business units.

It is understood that Hounsell, who has been at the company for three years, left on good terms and is considering his options.

Other casualties include Charles Darley, customer marketing director for the residential division NTL Home, who joined only two months ago from Consignia.

Richard Harris, who joined NTL as product marketing director from Coca-Cola last year, will now head the central marketing team as commercial director, reporting to managing director and chief operating officer Stephen Carter.

Despite the cutbacks, above- and below-the-line agencies J Walter Thompson and Black Cat will continue to work on advertising for NTL Home.

"Our brand awareness stands at 88% compared with just 25% two years ago and the central marketing team will concentrate on developing best practice strategy and brand policy," said an NTL spokeswoman.

Separately, Brian Hickey, marketing director of NTL Business, has taken voluntary redundancy, triggering a restructuring of its business arm into two divisions: managed network services and retail business markets.

NTL Business has installed Peter Booth and Andrew Flower as marketing directors of the respective divisions.

A month ago NTL announced 2000 redundancies, having already cut 6000 from its original 21,000 workforce last year.

The troubled fortunes of NTL and cable rival Telewest, have encouraged BT to step into the multi-media market.

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