Wermann quits FD for Direct Line

Financial services company Direct Line has appointed Chris Wermann as its head of public relations and Miles Russell as public affairs manager.

Financial services company Direct Line has appointed Chris Wermann

as its head of public relations and Miles Russell as public affairs

manager.



Wermann and Russell’s task is to promote the company’s media image to

counter competition from high street banks that have now launched rival

telephone financial services.



Wermann replaces Adrian Webb, who leaves this month to join Virgin

Direct’s banking account, One (PR Week, 27 November).



He joins from Financial Dynamics where he was a consultant handling

clients including fund management company Newton Fund Managers and

branding and identity company Interbrand, the firm which designed BA’s

new corporate image.



Wermann will report to Direct Line Group marketing director Andy Brown

and lead a team of nine, overseeing internal and external

communications.



He was previously PR manager for four years at retail bank Abbey

National, and an assistant media relations manager for the Woolwich

Building Society.



Wermann said: ’The challenge is to keep Direct Line as the real

innovator - and communication is vitally important as it does not have

any branches.’



Launched in 1986, the company relies heavily on marketing and PR to

encourage business.



Russell joined Direct Line this month from Burson-Marsteller where he

was a senior associate in the public affairs division.



Formerly a civil servant in the Department of Trade and Industry and in

the Cabinet Office, Russell will lead the company’s public affairs,

lobbying and government relations activities. He will report to

Wermann.



The company must also tackle issues such as EU harmonisation and UK

financial reform in the wake of the pensions mis-selling scandal.



Direct Line, with an 11 per cent share of the motor insurance market,

also offers PEPs, life assurance and home insurance services. It hired

Hill and Knowlton last year to promote its home insurance offering.



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