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
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
football
Sport
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
News
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
people
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine