You're fired!

Gloria Jeans marketing executive fired

There is news from Gloria Jeans:

A few days after  the coffee chain’s social media efforts met with an outpouring of wide-spread outrage over providing financial support to many anti-gay organisations, the slow-moving train-wreck is still going on.  A senior executive has been fired:  the company’s head of marketing has gone.

Until Thursday this week, Mr Gareth Pike held the somewhat gaudy title of “CEO Pacific, General Manager – Immersed Marketing”.

He was the man in charge of the company’s marketing, digital media (including social networking) and community engagement strategy.  According to the Gloria Jeans website, Mr Pike holds post-graduate qualifications in marketing, had worked as an executive at McDonalds and was Starbucks when launched in Australia.  All before moving the coffee company over eight years ago.  So what went wrong? He seemed to have all the right credentials?

You can read my full-analysis of the twitter storm in a coffee here, however in a letter to franchisees the company said:

“In [our new] company structure the role of CEO Pacific is no longer required, as a result Gareth Pike has decided to move on to pursue other opportunities.”

Gloria Jeans has been under-going a company-wide review after a court was told that its parent company Jireh Group was in “dire financial straits” two years ago (claims it strenuously denied at the time).

Executive chairman (and Hillsong Church elder) Nabeh Saleh also said in the letter to franchisees:

“We recognise that in this challenging economic climate our organisation needs to be faster, leaner and more responsive.”

Over the past few months Gloria Jeans has suffered significant brand damage: it was caught lying about a $30,000 political donation to the Australian Christian Lobby (claiming it was an advertising fee, when official Australian Electoral Commission papers showed it was a declared political donation), there were harrowing stories of abuse and ex-gay therapies from Mercy Ministries (a Hillsong Church related charity that Gloria Jeans forced franchisees to collect money for), and most recently the coffee chain had it’s very own #qantasluxury moment on social media.

It begs the question, was Mr Pike pushed? Did he jump? Or is this a genuine redundancy?

An evangelical Christian of Mr Saleh’s standing could never bear false witness.  Could he?

And is Mr Pike’s departure enough to undo some of that brand-damage?

You can read more about Mr Pike’s sacking here.


For the sake of history, here is a screen-capture of Mr Pike’s Gloria Jeans executive profile:

Gareth Pike of Gloria Jeans Coffees, before he was fired

And here is the jiberish that their copy-writers came up about their marketing department:

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