Erica Haddon, the doyenne of UK automotive PR events, has brought her career to close, stepping down from her role at Toyota (GB) to take early retirement after 24 years with the company.
Following Erica as the new PR Operations Manager is Kerry Sainsbury, who returns to the press office in an internal move from her current position as Digital Marketing Specialist. The change brings Kerry back to the team where she enjoyed her introduction to the motoring PR world on a year’s student attachment in 2011-12. She will take up her new post on 23 August, with responsibility for both the Toyota and Lexus brands.
Paying tribute to Erica, Scott Brownlee, Toyota’s Head of Press and Social, said: “Erica has played a key role in making and shaping our PR operation for nearly 25 years. She has also been an invaluable ally and friend to me. The media know and respect her as the master of organisation for our press launches and events. Internally she is also rightly famous for recruiting and developing young talent. Year after year she selects and trains PR students who join what we call, not entirely joking, The Erica Haddon Finishing School for Young PRs. It’s wholly appropriate that Kerry, a graduate of that school is to be her successor.”
Reflecting on her time at Toyota, Erica said: “I have enjoyed a great career with Toyota and have seen many changes, not just in our business but also in the media world with new technologies, tighter deadlines and different priorities. Meeting those challenges has been rewarding, as well getting to know so many people and forming genuine friendships. I know that Kerry has all the talents to succeed and will make the job her own, with the support of a fantastic team.”
Kerry holds a public relations degree from Bournemouth University and, following graduation, worked in another UK automotive press office before rejoining Toyota as a community manager with the social media team. Subsequently she has held co-ordinator positions in the company’s internal communications and network support and product marketing departments.
Looking forward to her new role, she said: “I’m delighted to be back in the PR team, working alongside some of the best in the industry. I’m joining at a busy time with exciting new product launches on the immediate horizon and the launch of our new KINTO mobility services brand. Erica’s shoes cannot be filled, she is the oracle of media relations, launches and events. I have her to thank for instilling in me her determination, attention to detail and meticulous planning.”