Hastings Direct brings in head of marketing

Hastings Direct, the Insurance Australia Group-owned brand, has appointed British Gas marketer Mathew Shepherd as trading director to head the group’s sales and marketing function.

It comes as Hastings Direct halts a review of its £8m media and direct marketing accounts.

Shepherd joins from British Gas Services, where he was head of customer acquisition, online activity, cross-sales and brand communications. He will report to chief executive Edward Fitzmaurice and has a brief to develop its customer base.

Shepherd’s appointment comes as IAG puts its consumer-facing brands, including Hastings Direct, up for sale, which is thought to be why it has delayed its media and direct marketing reviews.

The company called the review, which was being overseen by the AAR, in October. It followed the relaunch earlier this year of its brand icon Harry, a battle of Hastings-style solider.

The media is split between Feathers Brooksbank, which handles TV, and Story, which handles non-TV buying.

Shepherd held his role at British Gas for four years. Before that, he was head of propositions for motoring group RAC, and has previously held a variety of roles at brands including NatWest Bank, Visa and Vision Express.

IAG bought Hastings Direct in 2006, but is understood to want to concentrate on its affinity and underwriting businesses in favour of consumer-facing activity.

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