Woolworths’ PR chief is lured to Virgin role

Virgin Radio has appointed Charlotte Blenkinsop as head of communications - a newly-created role - just nine months after she took up a similar position at Woolworths.

Virgin Radio has appointed Charlotte Blenkinsop as head of

communications - a newly-created role - just nine months after she took

up a similar position at Woolworths.



She is expected to join the Ginger Media Group subsidiary in March,

although a leaving date from Woolworths has not been set.



Blenkinsop will report to Virgin Radio chief executive John Pearson.



’The role is to extend the listenership and build on the success of the

breakfast show throughout the day,’ she said.



Ginger chief executive David Campbell said he and Pearson had previously

split the management of Virgin Radio’s PR team. ’We wanted to upgrade

the position,’ he said. ’It hadn’t been that senior a position within

the company.’



The appointment follows the recent announcement of Scottish Media

Group’s pounds 225 million acquisition of Ginger, which also owns Ginger

TV and Ginger Online. In the wake of this, Blenkinsop’s role will expand

to building the station’s business profile as Virgin seeks to work with

new partners and attract more listeners. Corporate communications,

business-to-business and consumer relations will come under her

remit.



According to Campbell, Virgin’s PR focus had previously been on

showbusiness, and other aspects of the station needed to be concentrated

on. ’We felt we needed a full-time manager devoted to it.’



At Virgin, Blenkinsop will have two staff: one in-house and one - from

Freud Communications, Ginger’s sole retained agency - supporting the

breakfast show full time.



Virgin Radio, with an FM licence in London and an AM licence nationwide,

is the most profitable part of the Ginger empire. Last year it made an

operating profit of pounds 12.5 million on turnover of pounds 32

million.



Blenkinsop joined Woolworths from Paragon last May as head of internal

and external communications (PR Week, 9 April 1999) with a team of

four.



Her replacement has not been announced, although the company confirmed

she is to be directly replaced. The appointment will be made by

Woolworths’ marketing director, Ken Lewis.



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