Mike Sommers has stepped in as consumer marketing director of the Prudential after a row over corporate strategy sparked the sudden departure of Clare Salmon, who previously held the post.
The development comes at a critical time for the Pru, the UK’s largest pensions and life assurance company, which is in the throes of repositioning itself after the pensions mis-selling scandal.
Salmon, who is believed to be considering several job offers, reported to Roger Flynn, managing director of the Pru’s retail division, which is responsible for the marketing and distribution of all branded products.
Last year, the Pru underwent a major management restructure, following a review of company operations by management consultants McKinsey. The restructure led to the abolition of a central marketing organisation and the creation of six core businesses, each headed by a managing director and marketing director, of which retail is the most significant.
Flynn was recruited last summer, and is a former senior British Airways executive. Salmon, the Pru’s former head of customer development, had been appointed marketing director in spring last year.
Sommers, who is a director of SRU, was acting as a consultant to Flynn at the time of the disagreement, which was over what an internal company memo describes as “routes to the future”. Sommers is expected to remain on secondment in the post for at least six months.
Sommers has held a number of high-profile industry positions. He became Woolworths’ first marketing director in 1985 and between 1991 and 1993 was marketing director of TSB Bank. Subsequently, he became managing director of MGM Cinemas, before moving into management consultancy.