Financial services company Direct Line has appointed Chris Wermann
as its head of public relations and Miles Russell as public affairs
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
He was previously PR manager for four years at retail bank Abbey
National, and an assistant media relations manager for the Woolwich
Wermann said: ’The challenge is to keep Direct Line as the real
innovator - and communication is vitally important as it does not have
Launched in 1986, the company relies heavily on marketing and PR to
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
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.