Burger King's Hughes in Rank gaming move

Rank Group has poached Burger King's top European PRO Lesly Hughes to spearhead comms as it stakes its future on the gambling market. She joins on 29 September in the newly created role of PR manager for gaming.

Hughes, who was at Whitbread for 14 years before joining BK in 2004 (PRWeek, 17 Sep 2004), will oversee Mecca Bingo, Grosvenor Casinos and online betting brand Blue Square.

Rank is expected to sell off its Hard Rock music-themed restaurants to focus purely on gaming. Hughes will report to marketing director Pat Richardson.

Scotland's smoking ban has knocked bingo sales there by 13 per cent. The appointment comes as it emerges that Rank has appointed M: Communications to its financial comms account, after severing ties with seven-year incumbent Maitland (PRWeek, 14 July).

In her role as BK's consumer and brand PR manager for north-west Europe, Hughes oversees the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and Mediterranean markets.

BK senior marketing director for north-west Europe David Kisilevsky would not comment on any plans to replace Hughes.

Hughes became BK's most senior PR practitioner after EMEA comms manager Dara Grogan joined Initial Catering Service (PRWeek, 4 Nov 2005) and international comms director Kai Boschmann left to become group director of corporate affairs at Dixons (PRWeek, 8 January 2005).

Rank refused to comment on the appointment.

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