Open University starts hunt for marketing chief

The Open University is looking for a marketing chief following the departure of former Royal Mail and Dulux marketer Dr Andrew Hobbs.

Jan Smith, a former marketing director for Mazda and the RAC, has taken on the role of marketing, sales and customer development director for a six-month period until a replacement is found. She has just completed a period of consultancy work for the Co-operative Group, working on a project to revive the membership “divi” – a sum paid out to members depending on how much they spend.

Hobbs’ departure follows his re-appointment of FCBi to handle the Open University’s integrated marketing account in December last year, after the agency pitched against Clark McKay & Walpole, DFGW and Joshua. According to Nielsen Media Research, the university spends over £2m a year on advertising. Zed Media handles media buying.

Smith has identified several tasks the Open University must focus on, including launching a new brand identity across the organisation, the logo for which has been designed by Wolff Olins. She also wants to more clearly define potential customer markets to boost student recruitment.

The Open University is the UK’s only university dedicated to distance learning. Founded in the Sixties, it has about 150,000 undergraduates and 30,000 postgraduates, who mostly study on a part- time basis.

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