CV: ROY EDMONDSON

ROY EDMONDSON Director of product and programmes for global marketing, Levi Strauss

After I left school, I did a summer job at Morrison's supermarket in Keighley in Yorkshire, and I had the idea of doing a psychology degree. But it was difficult for me to see what kind of a job I'd get with that, so I thought I'd do a management training job at Morrison's - for the time being, anyway.

I didn't know at that time that the type of work I do now even existed. I'd never heard about marketing, but I had heard about selling, and I felt working as a trainee manager was a way of getting into that arena. From there, I managed to get a trainee selling job with Philip Morris, and started there in 1980 when I was 21.

After working all around the UK on different sales drives, I was given a proper sales territory, selling Marlboro cigarettes to the whole of north Yorkshire. After that I got a job that had come up within Philip Morris on their promotions team, and moved down to London, but still working on the Marlboro brand. I spent the next two or three years doing outdoor promotional events, and had a Cherokee Jeep with "Marlboro World Championship Team" on the side; I went to lots of sporting meetings, county fairs and rock concerts giving out samples. It didn't really feel like work; I was having a whale of a time doing something I really enjoyed.

That led to my managing special events, and I was part of the team that launched Marlboro Lights into the UK. For that I had to recruit 300 sampling girls, who were to be dressed in white boiler suits with gold accessories and would promote the brand in clubs and bars, and all I'll say about that is that doing the interviews was a very enlightening experience.

Then it got to the stage where I'd been at Philip Morris for seven years, and knew it inside out, and so I felt I wanted to move forward and put into practice the things I'd learnt. One of the first jobs I applied for was as promotions manager for Levi's, and to my amazement I got it, making the leap from ciggies to jeans. I wasn't sure these experiences would fit together, but when I thought about it, these were very similar, iconic, youth-oriented American brands which both had links with music and lifestyle.

That meant moving from London to Northampton, which didn't seem like the best thing in the world, but I started in 1987 and went on to become UK marketing manager and then marketing director. I moved back to London in 1990, and then, this year, I was appointed director of product and programmes for global marketing in San Francisco.

I'd first visited the US in 1984, and it bowled me over. I started going on trips to America regularly after that, for photoshoots and meetings, and I became enamoured with the way America works. I thought I'd got to go and work there at some stage, but I wasn't sure when and how. Then, earlier this year, there was some restructuring and a couple of jobs came up out there, so I thought: "It's now or never."

I thought my old job was the best job in the world, but I still felt I needed the opportunity to do something different. I didn't know what a difference it would be, and the first month out there was a bit scary, but it gave me a bit of a cleansing, in some respects - making a move like that pushes you to rethink things. I've been in the job for six months now, though I've actually spent four of them travelling outside the US.

My job is to get people from different countries to share programmes and ideas for development of the Levi brand, and look at long-term strategic business. I'm making links with outside companies with global networks - TV and music companies, and other brands - and maintaining relationships with people in the entertainment world, as Levi's is part of that arena. I met Jamiroquai four or five years ago before they were famous - at a club night we were sponsoring - and now, I've got Levi's in the US to sponsor their American tour.

There's a degree of glamour attached, I suppose, but I'm a Yorkshireman, and keep my feet firmly on the ground. Photoshoots are far from glamorous: real hard graft goes on behind the scenes for something to look good. I get to go to things like the Grammys and the Brits, and big-name gigs - which I absolutely love - but it's all become part of the fabric of what I do nown

Interview by Scott Hughes

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Publishing

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Guru Careers: Report Writer / Reporting Analyst

£25 - 30k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Report Writer / Reporting Analyst is nee...

Guru Careers: German Speaking Account Manager / Account Executive

£24-30K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A German speaking Account Manager ...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...