Ketchum man takes top comms job at Samsonite

Samsonite, the world's largest luggage maker, has poached Richard Brett - a director at its global PR adviser Ketchum - as its first global comms director.

The role has been created as the company builds a ­global marketing department in London.

Brett is based at Samsonite's new London head office, set up earlier this year by president and CEO Marcello Bottoli.

Brett said: ‘Previously Samsonite has been very ­regionally focused in its PR, but Marcello is keen to build a global marketing function based in the new London headquarters.'

The company has marketing heads in each of its 38 ­regions, and Brett will be ­responsible for making sure they all adhere to centralised ­comms messages.

The company has 284 stores worldwide and its products are sold in more than 100 countries.

Brett will also be responsible for managing Samsonite's relationship with Ketchum - an account he has worked on since the agency won it 18 months ago. He said he had no plans to review the business. Samsonite continues to use Gavin Anderson for financial PR. Brett reports to global chief marketing ­officer Annick Desmecht.

Bottoli masterminded a buyout of Samsonite at the end of 2003 and has been ­instrumental in reviving the firm after a fall in its ­luggage sales after 9/11.

As well as licensing deals with Lacoste and Timberland, Samsonite introduced the premium Black Label brand earlier in the year, and signed up designer Alexander McQueen for a range of products for 2007.

Recently, it has opened three Black Label stores, ­including one on Chelsea's prestigious Sloane Street.

The success of its Dubai, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain stores has led Samsonite to announce that a further 25 stores will be opened in the Gulf this year.

Prior to Ketchum, Brett worked at Jackie Cooper PR.

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