AA marketing chief quits

AA group marketing director Bob Sinclair is to leave the company after 27 years as its new owner Centrica reshapes itself as a provider of household services ranging from the home and car to personal finance.

Sinclair leaves the group in April. Centrica group marketing director Simon Waugh says: “There is no bad feeling. We have tried to retain him.”

Waugh has put in place a marketing structure to integrate the AA business. He will also oversee wide-ranging plans to expand Centrica’s financial services brand Goldfish and the AA’s existing financial services – seen as the key to the whole deal.

The restructure involves Jamie Buchan, former marketing director for British Gas Services (the division dealing with central heating installation, plumbing and repairs) becoming director of marketing for a new Home and Road business that includes the AA’s breakdown operations.

Waugh says the group aims to exploit its products and services for its 27 million customers. “With our investment we are creating the computer technology and systems to tie these into benefits packages,” he says.

Centrica plans to expand into car loans and saving products such as ISAs and bonds, and introduce new services such as a second-hand car buying package, to include a vehicle history check, a mechanical check, a car loan and motor insurance, all provided by the AA.

Waugh says: “We will be test marketing a lot of new products this year.” He adds that some specialist advertising agencies may be needed for the launch of financial services products.

A consolidation of media buying is expected across the enlarged Centrica group. The current agencies are Zenith Media, BMP OMD, Michaelides & Bednash and Manning Gottlieb Media.

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