Woolworths customer leader, Jess Gill, departs, following CMO out the door

Supermarket giant is not expected to directly replace the director of customer and will put end-to-end brand experience under the CMO role

Woolworths’ director of customer and brand, Jess Gill, will leave the group this week and is not expected to be directly replaced.

A spokesperson for Woolworths confirmed Gill, director of customer, brand and format, had decided to leave the company this week after three years. Her departure comes days after CMO, Tony Phillips, left Woolworths, having spent just one year in the role.

The Woolworths spokesperson would not comment on the link between the two departures.

“Jess has provided thought leadership over the past three years around store formats of the future, food for now and food for later strategies, own brand, store design and refurbishment plans,” the statement on Gill’s departure read.

Woolworths is now searching for a new chief marketing officer who will have responsibility for the end-to-end brand experience, suggesting Gill’s role will be incorporated into the CMO post.

Gill's was appointed director of customer experience, a strategic role, 12 months ago, at the same time as Phillips was brought on as Woolworth's first executive-level marketing chief.

The spokesperson also declined to comment on additional staff cuts, but said there had been no other departures from the marketing function.

Woolworths chief executive, Grant O’Brien, confirmed plans last week to cut 400 non customer-facing jobs over the next calendar year during the company’s strategic investor day.

Woolworths has already trimmed 400 jobs over the past year as part of a restructuring program aimed at becoming a more “lean” operation. However, the company said it had added 58,000 customer service hours per week into its stores to improve customer engagement over the same period, and plans to add a further 63,000 in the next financial year.

The changes are part of a three-year turnaround strategy aimed at putting the emphasis back on customer engagement and service.

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