Former Norwich Union marketer to join German catalogue business Otto

Colin Webb, the former Boots and Norwich Union marketing director, is joining German retail giant Otto as UK group commercial director.

Webb, who left Norwich Union following a reshuffle of its marketing department, was headhunted for the role at Otto, which owns brands including Freemans, Grattan and Kaleidoscope.

He joins next month and will report to Otto UK chief executive Mike Hancox, who was recruited from rival Littlewoods late last year.

The new post is one of several Hancox has created with a view to revitalising the UK operation. The German company is a growing global retailer and world leader in mail-order with a turnover of more than &£10m. It also claims to be the second largest internet retailer globally, after Amazon, and has a strong presence across mainland Europe, the US and Asia despite being little known in the UK.

Webb says the UK offers “huge untapped potential” to Otto, which is exploring launching new titles and innovating its Web presence.

Webb joined Aviva-owned Norwich Union Insurance as marketing director in 2004 where he oversaw advertising, direct marketing and Web development for general insurance, including Norwich Union Direct (MW November 25, 2004).

In August last year he oversaw a restructure of the marketing department to include the insurance arm of its newly acquired RAC (MW August 11, 2005). The combined business unit became known as Norwich Union General Insurance (NUGI) and promptly undertook a review of its combined &£60m media business.

But, Aviva undertook further restructuring in May, promoting RAC marketing director Shaun Meadows to marketing director across Norwich Union and RAC, leaving Webb seeking a new position within the company.

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