Virgin Group appoints former Saatchi's Asia Pacific CEO Ian Rowden to chief marketing role

Thumbnail image for Screen shot 2010-10-25 at 9.43.40 AM.pngVirgin Group has appointed former Saatchi & Saatchi Asia Pacific chairman and CEO Ian Rowden - who departed the agency in May - to be its new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

This appointment places the brand and this role at the heart of the Group's strategy. Rowden has a mandate to drive the Virgin brand's international expansion and to enhance and expand the global brand team.

Says Rowden: "The Virgin brand touches consumers all over the world. It was the opportunity to drive further growth of this incredible brand that attracted me to the Virgin Group. I look forward to working with Richard and the team as we explore new ventures for Virgin around the globe.'
Rowden joins from Saatchi & Saatchi Asia Pacific where he has been Chairman and CEO for the last three years responsible for the key growth markets of India and China. He brings a huge amount of global commercial marketing and advertising experience from a career spanning companies such as The Coca Cola Company, Wendy's International and Callaway Golf.

Educated at Wollongong University , Rowden started his career with The Coca‐Cola Company in early 1980. He spent eight years at Coca‐Cola before joining Power Brewing Company in Brisbane and then later became a Director and Managing Partner of DDB Needham Advertising in Sydney.

Rowden returned to Coca‐Cola in 1992 when he was appointed Vice President of Marketing for the company's South Pacific Region.From 1993‐1995 Ian worked in China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan and led the company in its expansion efforts in this critical geographic region. In November 1995 he was promoted to Vice President and Director of Worldwide Advertising based in Atlanta, Georgia, where he presided over Coca-Cola's global brand strategy and advertising efforts, a position he held until he joined Callaway Golf in September 2000.

As Callaway's CMO he helped to reengineer the product range and overhaul its advertising and marketing strategy, before joining the fast food chain Wendy's International as its EVP and CMO in 2004. There he lead the re-positioning of the brand and business expanding the menu offering, redesigning the look and feel of the fast food restaurant chain and attracting new customers to the  franchise.

He is a board member of the Miami Ad School, a non‐profit organisation and the world's leading source of advertising creative talent with schools in Miami, San Francisco, New York, Sydney, London, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Hamburg, Shanghai and Minneapolis. Ian was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement in 1999, the advertising industry's premier award for outstanding professionals aged 40 and under.

Says Sir Richard Branson: "I am excited by the opportunities we have to extend the Virgin brand around the world. Ian is going to play a major role in helping us drive that expansion."

Adds Peter Norris, non-executive chairman: "We were very fortunate to have many talented people apply for the role and it was Ian's entrepreneurial aptitude that set him apart, I look forward to working with him."

8 Comments

Ex mate said:

Terrific news! He is an outstanding candidate. I'm excited to read of his appointment. So many people would have killed for this opportunity. Great to see it go to him. Utterly thrilled. Yes, thrilled. Ian is a one of a kind. So experienced on the client side. Agency experience too. Free thinker. Uncompromising. Clever. Knowledgeable. Whole package really! It will be great to see what he does in this role. Truly great.

C. Montgomery Burns said:

@ Ex mate.

You forgot 'pleasant'.

OMG said:

Well well, well - a great survivor if I've ever seen one!

David Brent said:

Jet lag baby - Yeah!

Mate of ex-mate said:

Ex mate, what a capital assessment of the man. Absolutely capital. And such a deserving client.

Anon Virgin said:

Hey ex mate. Such an overly defensive tone as the first posting is so transparent. Assume a fine bottle of Rowdens favorite red has arrived already!

Ex mate's mate said:

@ Anon Virgin,

You just don't get it, do you? Please try harder.

Ex mate said:

Why thank you, Mate of ex-mate (a.k.a. 8:12PM), I was pretty pleased with the reference myself. Start as you mean to go on, I always say. ;)

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