Scouts poach Oxfam’s Palmer to run marcoms

The Scout Association has poached Oxfam’s director of corporate marketing John Palmer to run its revamped comms division.

Palmer, who has been with Oxfam for 14 years, starts work at the association on 26 January and will take charge of a 32-strong team in the new role of director of marketing and communications.

Palmer will take on the duties of the Scouts’ current director of communications, John Fogg, who is to retire in March at the age of 62. Fogg has already overseen the merger of the Scouts’ communications with its marketing division (PRWeek, 12 September 2003).

Oxfam said it was in the final stages of appointing a replacement for Palmer and would make an announcement later this month.

Palmer takes over as the association enters the third year of a five-year plan to raise the profile of the organisation and reorganise its structure, with fewer Scout groups and more adult volunteers.

At present, the organisation has around 8,500 groups in the UK, but has lost between two and three per cent of its half a million-strong membership over the past three years.

Fogg said the lack of adult volunteers meant that scout groups had had difficulty managing the number of young people who wanted to join the movement.

‘Our market research shows the movement is still popular among young people, but what we cannot do is recruit adults,’ said Fogg.

The Scout Association is already planning for the World Scout Centennial Jamboree that the UK branch of the international Scout movement will host in July and August of 2007.

The charity is expecting 50,000 people to camp at Hylands Park on the outskirts of Chelmsford for the event.

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