Paddy Power has appointed former O2 and Telefonica executive Gav Thompson as its new chief marketing officer, replacing Christian Woolfenden, who has taken charge of the operator’s UK and Irish retail business.

Thompson is described as “a strategic marketing, brand and innovation expert,” with more than 20 years’ experience working with leading consumer brands such as Guinness, PlayStation, Pepsi and Absolut, and will join the operator in June.

Most recently he served as CMO for customer engagement technology business Thunderhead, which he joined from telecommunications giant Telefonica, where he served as global director of business innovation.

He also served as director of marketing innovation for Telefonica Europe, and spent four years as head of brand strategy for O2 UK, where he founded the community-run mobile phone network giffgaff.

He has also worked for agencies such as Abbott Mead Vickers, BBDO, TBWA London and Publicis Mojo Sydney in account management and strategic planning roles.

“I have always been a huge fan of the Paddy Power brand,” Thompson said. “The brand is over-flowing with creativity, entertainment, disruption, innovation and mischief.”

“To be asked to be CMO of such a unique proposition is a real honour. This really is my perfect job, and I cannot wait to get cracking.”

Paddy Power CEO Andy McCue said he was thrilled to welcome Thompson to Paddy Power.

“He is a world-class marketing talent, and his passion for customers, brand experiences and innovation matches perfectly with Paddy Power’s. Gav joins at an exciting phase in the business, and will be a superb addition to a strong team.”

Thompson’s appointment is the latest management change at the operator after new CEO McCue reshuffled his management team in December. This saw Woolfenden, formerly global marketing director, take charge of UK and Irish retail, with Peter O’Donovan becoming chief product officer and Johnny Hartnett replacing him as managing director of Paddy Power Online.

Shares in Paddy Power plc. (Co. Data) (LSE:PAP) were trading up 0.33 per cent in London early Thursday afternoon at 81.85 pence per share.

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