After months of searching, supermarket group Morrisons has hired Angus McIver, Prudential’s UK marketing director, to take on its newly created board-level marketing role (MW last week). As the top marketer in the UK’s fourth-biggest grocer, McIver has been thrust into the spotlight and joins just weeks after Lance Batchelor was appointed UK marketing director at Tesco (MW July 26).
Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland created the role earlier this year to lead the retailer’s £450m rebranding. But that is now all but complete, overseen by marketing services director Michael Bates, previously the company’s top marketer who will now be McIver’s number two.
News of 43-year-old McIver’s appointment comes just five months after he was promoted from director of insurance to UK marketing director at Prudential.
Speaking to Marketing Week, McIver says he will be responsible for continuing Morrisons’ rebranding programme, co-ordinating, for the first time, all marketing functions – including PR and internal communications – and creating a new insight department.
Unlike competitor Sainsbury’s and its association with the Nectar card, or Tesco with its hugely successful Clubcard, Morrisons has invested little in customer insight and loyalty. McIver’s background in this area is considered by many to be one of his biggest selling points. “Morrisons was interested in insight and how to use it,” adds McIver.
McIver, a Scotsman originally from the Highland town of Fort William, joined Procter & Gamble after leaving the University of Glasgow with a degree in history and politics. He spent six years at P&G – at the same time as Batchelor – working his way up through the ranks in a number of brand-manager roles for brands such as Wash & Go.
This was followed by ten years at PepsiCo, where the majority of his time was spent working on the Walkers crisps brand. He joined in 1993 as a marketing controller and later became a divisional sales manager. He then spent four years in Budapest as vice-president of marketing, before returning to the UK in 2000 as vice-president of customer insight, a post that led him to set up groups focusing on shopper insights.
McIver joined Prudential in 2003 as director of customer insight, reporting to group marketing chief Roger Ramsden. In 2005, he was made partnership director – during which time he created a partnership between Prudential Health and Boots, the high street chemist – before being made director of insurance.
McIver took Prudential’s top UK marketing role from Alison Wright when she left to become the top marketer at Egg. She believes McIver’s background is perfect for a supermarket group. “He’s got P&G experience, which gives a good commercial outlook that will play well with retailers, and he’s got a lot of good blue-chip experience from PepsiCo,” she says.
Martin Glenn, chief executive of Iglo Birds Eye, worked with McIver at PepsiCo. He describes McIver as bright and witty, but “not a data nerd”, despite his strength in insight. Glenn believes it is this background that makes him a good fit with Morrisons. “Advertising is important, but it’s much more about information now,” he says.
As McIver prepares to relocate to West Yorkshire from Berkshire – where he lives with his wife, a manufacturing logistics manager for P&G – the industry will be watching closely to see what his knowledge of insight can do for Morrisons.