Kingsmill resigns as Virgin Australia CMO as marketing becomes group-level remit

CMO departure comes as the airline appoints Rob Sharp as group executive, second in line to group CEO, John Borghetti

Danielle Keighery
Danielle Keighery

Virgin Australia CMO, Inese Kingsmill, has resigned, the airline’s group executive for corporate affairs has gained the marketing remit, and a new executive is in charge of the airline under a restructure revealed yesterday.

A spokesperson for Virgin Australia confirmed to CMO that Kingsmill, appointed the airline’s chief marketing officer a little less than 12 months ago, will exit the organisation following a decision to extend the remit of current corporate affairs leader, Danielle Keighery, to group executive brand, marketing and public affairs.

The changes see marketing elevated to a group-level responsibility and open up the potential for siloed marketing teams across the airlines, holiday, Virgin Velocity and TigerAir to work more collaboratively together.

Kingsmill’s other commercial responsibilities across the guest contact centre, ecommerce and Virgin Holidays have also been carved out and will remain within the Virgin Australia Airlines business. It's this division of the portfolio that resulted in her decision to leave the company.

News about the marketing realignment came as Virgin confirmed acting Virgin Australia Airlines chief, Rob Sharp, as its new group executive, second in line to overall business CEO, John Borghetti. Sharp was previously the CEO of Tiger Airlines but has spent the last four months in an acting group executive role for Virgin Australia Airlines while a permanent chief was confirmed.

In a statement, Borghetti said Sharp’s wealth of commercial expertise including specialist experience in operating in a multi-brand environment, is backed by strong operational credentials and has a track record of innovation.

“In his most recent role as CEO of Tigerair Australia, Rob did an outstanding job of establishing a profitable low-cost domestic carrier, improving its operational capabilities and customer satisfaction ratings,” he stated.  

Sharp was the CEO of Tigerair Australia for more than four years. Peter Wilson is currently acting as CEO while a permanent replacement is secured.

Keighery’s expanded remit, meanwhile, was a reflection her outstanding job leading the public affairs team over the past seven years, Borghetti said.

“Danielle has more than 20 years’ experience in communication and brand leadership which will be highly valued,” he continued. “Our brand and reputation is integral to our Group’s success and Danielle’s appointment will continue to build on Virgin Australia’s position in the market.”

The appointments are effective immediately, although a spokesperson for the company said Kingsmill will stay on for a number of weeks as part of a handover process.


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