Sommers poised to hire Prudential brand chief

Mike Sommers, the consultant brought in to shake up marketing at the Prudential, is to recruit a head of brands to oversee advertising, design, sponsorship and events for the group.

The new appointment will come as part of a radical restructure at the financial services group, in which three of the marketing department’s four divisions will be dropped and replaced with new, more brand-focused units.

The three original divisions – communications, customer data and customer management – will be merged into other departments. Only the product and channels division, led by Frank Wilson, will remain in the marketing department.

In the new-look marketing set-up, Sommers will establish a brand division led by a new external candidate.

He will also transfer sales development from the sales to the marketing department. This will be overseen by sales development head Claire Stracey, who will integrate sales and marketing strategies more closely.

A customer database management division will also be set up in the marketing department, with the more technical elements of this speciality hived off to other departments within the company.

Sommers says: “The marketing department is currently overcomplicated and there is a need for greater efficiency. I want a cleaner, simpler line of command and less duplication of resources. I want to use technology more effectively, a quicker turn-around from ad agencies and more outsourcing.”

The restructure is part of a complete overhaul of the Prudential Retail operation, which is responsible for selling Prudential-branded products.

Sommers confirms the restructure will lead to about 250 redundancies across Prudential, but says it is too early to say how many will come from its 120-strong marketing department.

He says roster agencies Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, WWAV Rapp Collins and Manifesto will still work with the company.

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