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HomeMarketingVirgin Money names Waitrose’s head of marketing as first CMO

Virgin Money names Waitrose’s head of marketing as first CMO

Virgin Money has appointed Waitrose’s Emma Isaac as its first chief marketing officer as the brand looks to step up its “journey towards becoming the UK’s best digital bank”.

Previously, head of brand and marketing, Gerry Magee, had led the marketing function at the business. He will depart Virgin Money at the end of the year, having been at the brand for five years. Isaac takes up her role at the end of October.

Isaac has been at Waitrose for over two and a half years as its head of marketing. In that role she led the development of the supermarket’s ‘Food To Feel Good About’ brand promise. She is also credited with having driven a focus on marketing effectiveness at the brand through more collaborative ways of working with commercial colleagues and agency partners.

Last week, Waitrose appointed three marketers, including a head of brand and customer experience, a new role, which brings the customer and brand teams together under the leadership of former Co-op marketer Helen Carroll.

Inside Virgin Money’s plan to build a consumer, not just a bank, brand

Before her time at Waitrose, Isaac spent around seven years as a senior marketer in the financial sector; first at Barclays, between 2013 and 2016, and then at NatWest Group, between 2016 and 2020. She held the role of brand and marketing director at both these companies.

Isaac also spent 12 years at British Airways, latterly as head of brand, and was a brand strategy consultant and partner at two brand strategy agencies, Circus and Serac Partners.

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“I’m very excited to be joining Virgin Money at such a pivotal moment to help deliver on its purpose of ‘Making you happier about money’ and accelerate its journey to becoming the UK’s best digital bank,” she says.

She adds that Virgin Money’s objectives to “make significant positive difference, transform the status quo, and deliver on growth and purposeful change” align with her own goals for her career.

In 2018, Virgin Money was bought for £1.7bn by the Clydesdale Bank Group. It was announced that the Group’s other brands, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, would be phased out in favour of the Virgin Money brand. It faces newer rivals like Monzo and Starling in its quest to become the UK’s “best” digital bank brand.

Alongside her senior marketing roles at brands, Isaac is an active member of WACL, which campaigns for gender equality in the marketing and advertising industry. She is also a Marketing Academy fellow.

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