AXA UK parachutes in group marketing chief

LONDON - Axa UK has appointed Olivier Mariee to the new role of group marketing director in a restructure of its marketing department following the arrival of Nicolas Moreau as UK chief executive in June.

The role integrates responsibility for marketing, brand and communications, which were previously handled by Axa UK's group head of brand, Darrin Nightingale, and head of communications Sam Hunter.

Nightingale and Hunter both left the company earlier this year. Nightingale now heads marketing at rival Standard Life Investments.

Mariee will lead the development and implementation of marketing, customer care, brand and external communication strategies and will sit as a member of the Axa UK executive committee.

He joins from Axa France, where he was senior vice-president and head of customer care and distribution.

Once Mariee has settled into his role he is likely to evaluate the management structure reporting to him, a spokesman told Marketing.

The French insurance giant has committed itself to strengthening its direct relationship with consumers after spending the past few years marketing to independent financial advisers.

Earlier this year Nightingale appointed WFCA Integrated to its UK advertising roster to adapt work created by the Australian office of Grey for local consumers.

Nightingale handed AXA UK's £22m advertising account to Grey Australia last October. The agency, which had won Axa Australia's account in 2004, had come up with a creative idea that the insurer believed would work well in the UK.

Axa UK and Ireland's underlying earnings were up 32% to £156m in the first half of this year, with strong contributions from both life and non-life operations.

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