Former HSBC chief slams DM industry

Former First Direct and HSBC marketing chief Peter Simpson has slammed the direct marketing industry for not living up to its potential.

Simpson, who helped launch First Direct and spent 13 years as the 24-hour bank’s commercial director, is joining direct marketing specialist Data Lateral as chairman.

But despite calling DM his “first love”, he says: “I do not believe it has evolved as fast as it should. DM has an inferiority complex that I don’t understand because it is a huge driver of sales.”

Simpson has spent 36 years in financial services, joining Midland Bank in 1970. He was involved in developing the strategy that led to the launch of First Direct in 1989, and became the bank’s commercial director in 1992.

Data Lateral is a 35-strong direct marketing and data specialist in Clerkenwell, London. Simpson has joined to build the business and says it is on the acquisition trail.

“Channels of communication have fragmented but marketers have lost sight of the individuals among all the data they collect.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here