B&Q taps ex-House of Fraser CMO Paddy Earnshaw to steer brand turnaround

Ex House of Fraser CMO Paddy Earnshaw tasked with B&Q turnaround as customer director

House of Fraser's former chief marketing officer Paddy Earnshaw has joined B&Q as customer director.

Earnshaw held the chief marketing role at House of Fraser for one year after being appointed October 2017. During his tenure, the high street retailer was acquired by Sports Direct after falling into administration. Earnshaw joined as the struggling 169-year old brand looked to turn around its fortunes, but exited some five months after the department stores financial woes were made public.

Now as customer director of B&Q, the marketer will again be charged with helping reinvigorate a retail chain's proposition, after B&Q was forced to sell off and lease back six stores to fund its own turnaround strategy at the end of last year.

The Drum has reached out to B&Q to find out more about Earnshaw's remit, including who he will report in to. At the time of writing, the company had not yet responded.

He joins as B&Q's parent firm, Kingfisher, is facing off its own struggles.

The group's chief executive Veronique Laury is to step down after a replacement is hired. The business noted a 13% profit slump in 2018 and has revealed plans to close down 15 stores across its portfolio in Europe, with Screwfix's bricks-and-mortar presence in Germany a casualty.

Chief executive Laury has been spearheading a ‘One Kingfisher’ strategy, part of an £800m, five-year plan that encompasses Screwfix and B&Q. The goal is to unify product ranges, boost e-commerce revenues and make cost savings where possible across the group.

As customer director of B&Q, Earnshaw and his marketing department will be faced with reversing a 2.8% year-on-year drop in sales.

He brings with him e-commerce, marketing, and communications experience from House of Fraser. The marketer has also held roles at Esselco Services, Doddle, Worldpay and Moneycorp.

The news comes as Omnicom Media Group’s Drum has been appointed by Kingfisher and B&Q as its global social content agency of record. Tying into the 'One Kingfisher' strategy, the agency will look to drive consideration of the B&Q, Screwfix, Castorama, Brico Depot, Koctas brands in social. In particular, looking to inspire DIY and home improvement ventures in audiences.

The agency will also work closely with the marketing team on the social creative elements of a fresh product launch across global markets later this year.

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