Standard Life axes 10% of marketing team

Standard Life is axing almost 10% of its 400-strong global marketing team as part of a “radical” restructure of the asset management company’s marketing division. It is looking externally to fill one of three new marketing head roles, which will be given profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities.

The move comes as part of plans to put “marketing at the heart of the organisation” and a focus on customer life stages rather than by product set.

Standard Life says 75 roles are being axed, but that 38 new roles will be created as part of the restructure. It will lead to 37 redundancies by next spring. The company has a 400-strong global marketing team, with 288 based in the UK.

Speaking exclusively to Marketing Week, Andrew Gillespie, UK managing director of marketing, says it marks a significant shift in Standard Life’s business.

The restructure has been instigated by chief marketing officer Simon Gulliford, who joined the Edinburgh-based financial services company in April (MW February 13). It will see marketing within its UK Life and Pensions businesses change from a product-led focus to a market and customer insight approach. Gillespie says the approach is more akin to non-financial services organisations.

It will appoint three heads of marketing to manage four divisions – one corporate and three teams focused on different life stages, such as high net worth individuals who want to protect their assets to those in their twenties and thirties wanting to grow their savings.

The marketing team was informed of the plans by Gillespie, who joined earlier this year (MW October 8). He was previously group marketing director at Barclays, where he also worked for Gulliford.

Gillespie is also calling on the industry to simplify communications to customers in order to address their concerns and fears at a time when trust in financial services – particularly banks – is at a low.

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