Addison Lee hires former AKQA exec Nick Constantinou to fight digital taxi wars

420Private car hire giant Addison Lee (we used to call them minicabs) has hired former AKQA and McCann executive Nick Constantinou (left) as marketing boss, reporting to chief commercial officer Peter Boucher.

Constantinou spent 12 years at AKQA, which is a clue to the issues facing companies like Addison Lee these days.

Addison, which is owned by Carlyle Group, may be the biggest private hire company in Europe (about one in three vehicles you see in central London these days is an Addison Lee Ford Focus) but the taxi business is being revolutionised by apps like Uber. These have brought lower cost fares into the market by giving independent drivers access to digital bookings.

Addison obviously feels it needs someone to help fight the technology wars.

The company began in Battersea, London, in 1975 as one of many competing motorcycle courier firms. When it moved into cabs it prospered initially as the adman’s charabanc of choice (for those unfortunates who didn’t have cars and drivers).

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