Asda has named KFC UK CMO Meghan Farren as chief customer officer, tasked with developing and leading the supermarket’s marketing strategy and managing its brands.
She replaces Anne-Maree Shaw who returned to Australia in January. Farren will take over from chief strategy officer Preyash Thakrar, who is providing interim leadership support until she joins the supermarket in October.
Farren has spent the past 10 years at the fast food chain, working her way up from innovation director to her current role as CMO of the UK and Ireland.
She has been instrumental in driving growth and implementing change throughout her time at the business. In 2016, for example, she was responsible to turning around KFC’s fortunes after consumer research revealed the brand was starting to lose relevance among its core audience, resulting in a drop in sales.
Working alongside agency Mother, she has also been the driving force behind campaigns such as ‘FCK’ in response to a chicken shortage in 2018, and most recently the resurrection of the brand’s ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ strapline after pausing it during the height of the pandemic.
Prior to joining KFC, Farren worked at dessert brand Gu, after spending time at consulting firm Marakon and beginning her career as an analyst at JPMorgan.
Meg brings a wealth of experience to this role from her time at KFC.
Roger Burnley, Asda
Farren, who will also join the Asda leadership team, says: “It is a real privilege to lead the customer team of such an iconic British brand that not only has such a rich heritage, but also deep roots in its communities and a place in the heart of most British households.
“I am looking forward to a big challenge and the chance to do epic things with a wonderful group of people.”
Asda CEO Roger Burnley says Farren will play a “pivotal role” in driving the supermarket’s customer strategy forward.
“Meg brings a wealth of experience to this role from her time at KFC – and her combination of creative instinct and experience, customer centric approach and track record in leading high performing teams will be a great addition to Asda as we take the next exciting step forward on our journey,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Asda’s new owners Mohsin and Zuber Issa, say Farren is joining at an “exciting time” for the business as it prepares to “invest in online, source more food from UK farmers and enhance the customer offer”.
The Issa brothers’ £6.8bn acquisition of Asda was given the green light by the competition authority last month.
Asda, the UK’s third largest supermarket, saw footfall rise by 29% during the 12 weeks to 13 June, helping it increase market share to 14.1%, up from 13.9% in 2020, according to the latest data from Kantar.
KFC has promoted marketing director Jack Hinchliffe who will take over as CMO on Farren’s departure.