Jones: heading home to the UK
The revolving door of marketing executives at Woolworths continues to turn with the marketing director for Big W, Alison Jones, leaving the retailer and Big W scrapping the role of marketing director, Mumbrella can reveal.
The retailer will instead create a new position of general manager creative (design, marketing and online) with Big W CEO and former luxury brand Oroton boss Sally Macdonald raiding her former employer for the replacement.
Woolworths confirmed Jones is vacating the role and will be replaced next week after making the decision to move back to the UK with her family.
Jones will be replaced by Oroton general manager and creative director Ana Maria Escobar, who worked closely with Macdonald helping to turn around the luxury brand.
Escobar joins Bg W from Oroton
Escobar has also worked as a design director at Sportscraft and Pacific Brands.
Woolworths confirmed Jones’ departure in a statement to Mumbrella.
“Alison Jones has made the decision to return to the UK with her family,” a spokesperson said. “We thank her for her contribution to Big W over the past few years and wish her well in the future.
“Ana Maria Escobar has been appointed to the new role of general manager creative (design, marketing and online) at Big W. She will commence in the role on Monday 22 February 2016. Ana was most recently general manager and creative director at Oroton Group and has also worked as design director for Sportscraft and Pacific Brands.”
At Oroton, Escobar was responsible for brand direction, product design, visual merchandising and store design.
Oroton has previously proclaimed her role building connections with a younger audience without alienating its existing customer base.
“Perhaps her most significant achievement is the balance she has struck between reinvigorating the brand’s fashion consciousness, yet celebrating its heritage,” states Escobar’s bio on the Oroton website.
Woolworths announced its intention to redefine the image of the discount retailer last year when it appointed Macdonald to turn the business around and the appointment of Escobar is the first clear signal of the retailer’s new direction.
The move to the shake-up marketing at Big W comes after the sister supermarket brand has endured a rollercoaster ride after a series of senior executive departures last year including CEO Grant O’Brien, marketing boss Tony Phillips and director of customer, brand and format, Jess Gill, last year.
Big W moved its account from Saatchi & Saatchi to Leo Burnett in the middle of 2015, aligning the business with Woolworths. Woolworths shocked the agency three weeks ago when it moved the supermarket business to M&C Saatchi; however, Big W remains with Leos.