Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Lady Lotto - Dianne Thompson Chief Executive, Camelot

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Lady Lotto - Dianne Thompson Chief Executive, Camelot

Article excerpt

Lady Luck is a moniker that can be applied as easily to Camelot chief executive Dianne Thompson as to Fay Ripley, the star of the National Lottery's current ad campaign. From the bitter battle to secure a second licence, to the controversy over a rapist who won pounds 7m, Thompson has experienced her share of slings and arrows during her seven-year stint at Camelot.

Ask Thompson, 54, about luck, and she would probably say you make your own. Her achievements - recognised in a clutch of awards including The Marketing Society's Marketer of the Year (2001) - stem from a ferocious work ethic and an almost obsessive desire to prove herself.

'Dianne is very career-driven and focused - 'unsuccessful' isn't in her vocabulary,' says BBC chairman Michael Grade, who as chairman of Camelot was Thompson's boss until earlier this year. He also cites her phenomenal attention to detail. 'She knew sales were falling before anyone else and cut her cost base before the board asked her to. She knew the concentration had to be on sales, and there was no quick-fix solution.'

Ian Milligan, commercial director of mobile games provider Million-2-1, who worked for Thompson as Camelot marketing and sales director until 2001, agrees: 'She has a limitless sense of possibilities and can operate one inch above the ground on the minutest detail.'

As the National Lottery celebrates its 10th anniversary this Saturday, Thompson can allow herself a small sigh of relief. Camelot recently reported a sales increase of more than pounds 100m for the half-year to the end of September.

This is more than double the pounds 40m rise in sales it reported for the full financial year of 2003-04, suggesting the lottery operator is sustaining its return to form. The turnaround, a year ahead of schedule, is the icing on the Lottery's birthday cake and testimony to Thompson's determination to rejuvenate the business.

'The challenge for any lottery is to keep the games refreshed and exciting. Over time people get bored,' she says.

To keep it interesting, Thompson has championed product diversification.

Internet sales began last December, an interactive TV service on Sky Active debuted in April and last month Play by Text, a mobile game, was launched. …

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