Open University (OU) has appointed former npower chief marketer David Andrew as marketing director, ending a year-long hunt to fill the role.
Andrew replaces Jan Smith who had stepped in as interim marketing, sales and customer development director last year (MW January 27, 2005), initially on a six-month tenure. At the time, Smith took over from Dr Andrew Hobbs, a former Royal Mail marketer.
Andrew says he is undertaking a review of the distance-learning university’s marketing strategy, but also that agency arrangements will remain unchanged for now. OU’s lead creative agency is FCBi, which was appointed last year. Response One handles direct marketing and Zed Media is responsible for media buying.
He says the university is facing many challenges, not least the rise of the internet. “When OU was founded in the 1960s, it was in a unique position, being the only distance-learning university. Now OU is facing a unique challenge in that any university in the world can offer distance-learning facilities via the Net.The threat from competitors is also an opportunity for us to develop our operations.”
As part of the review, he will assess how OU communicates with businesses as well as consumers, saying that, in the past, it has concentrated too much on the consumer. “We will now approach above-the-line advertising from the bottom up,” he says.
Andrew left npower when it was taken over by German company RWE in 2003 (MW August 14, 2003).