Ex-AOL marketer joins Freeserve

Freeserve has appointed former AOL marketing chief Keith Hawkins to the newly created position of managing director of marketing.

Hawkins replaces chief marketing officer Neil Samson, who left Freeserve at the end of last year to join Shell Internet Works.

Khim McCall, who was promoted from head of advertising and PR to acting head of marketing following Samson’s departure, will now be head of marketing.

She will report to Hawkins, who takes up his post this week.

Hawkins says: “The backing of Wanadoo, distribution through Dixons’ stores and Freeserve’s market-leading brand awareness mean there is a strong platform on which to build innovative new marketing and communications initiatives.”

He adds that his strategy will focus on increasing Freeserve’s share of new Internet customers as well as retaining its 2.1 million existing users.

There are no plans at the moment to review Freeserve’s advertising roster. M&C Saatchi handles the &£8m creative account while Walker Media manages the media account.

At AOL, Hawkins was responsible for the company’s UK brands: AOL, Netscape and CompuServe. He led AOL UK’s consumer marketing for the launch of flat rate access.

Freeserve was launched in 1998 by electronics retailer Dixons. It was bought by online media and services company Wanadoo last year, although Dixons remains a shareholder.

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