Ex-M&S marketer joins Vodafone as brand director


M&S’ head of customer experience Maria Koutsoudakis has joined Vodafone as brand and marketing director.

Bilge Ciftci, brand director of three years, has now taken on a cross-functional role on its consumer and business units related to Vodafone’s launch of 5G.

A spokesperson told The Drum: “Her extensive consumer and marketing experience alongside her strong leadership and networks across all areas of Vodafone mean that she is perfectly placed to lead this key strategic launch for the UK business.”

A six-year veteran at M&S, Koutsoudakis held a number of marketing roles. On joining in 2012 she oversaw marketing for beauty and lingerie division before taking on brand marketing for the general merchandise division in 2017.

In the lead up to a restructure of M&S’ food, clothing and home divisions in April - which saw the appointment of two new marketing director – Koutsoudakis was given the role of ‘head of customer experience’ across the group.

However, after six months in the role she departed for Vodafone.

Ciftci had held the position of brand director, a role she was appointed to in 2016 after five years in Turkey as director of brand and marketing strategy for the region.

Vodafone announced plans earlier this year to introduce 1,000 5G-enabled network sites in Britain by 2020. Trials of 5G services began this year although 5G-ready handsets won't hit the market until 2019.

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