Finance to marketing director – the new career path?

You might expect the usual route to marketing director to include a stint as head of brand or ecommerce. Few would suggest a career path of finance to marketing director. 


However, that is exactly the route to the top marketing job taken by Autoglass’s new sales and marketing director Neil Atherton.

He will take on responsibility for brand building, a far cry; it seems from the finance, IT, risk and compliance brief he had in nine years as finance director.

However, Atherton told Marketing Week that some of the skills he has learned in his career to date – he has held other finance director posts and is a qualified chartered accountant – will stand him good stead.

Moving into a new role as sales and marketing director at Autoglass provides a fresh and exciting challenge to me but I feel that my previous experience and skills will add another layer to this area, particularly in area accountability and strategic thinking.

“My analytical mindset is as vital in a marketing role as it was in my financial one. My expertise in these areas will, I believe, translate well into building success and providing the best possible service to our customers by continuing to build our brand.”

Atherton’s appointment comes amid a debate in the marketing world about the best way marketers can grow their influence in the boardroom and change legacy perceptions that marketing is an operating cost and not a revenue generator.

It has been suggested that marketers need to be more numerate and think of what they do in terms of business strategy. There have also been calls for marketers to experience other operational and management functions, something Atherton subscribes to.

“I believe that finance and marketing go hand-in-hand. It’s impossible to generate business success without good financials and good marketing: and the two fields both require the application of similar measures in terms of setting goals, strategies and evaluation. From my perspective, I think it’s always beneficial for businesses to encourage their senior executives to expand their remits.

He adds: “Allowing the internal movement of expertise from one area to another can certainly play a part in driving business growth and building on existing success; I can already see how finance, marketing and sales need to work together to drive the bottom line by building stronger brands.”

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