Former Aviva marketing director not planning a return

Former Aviva marketing director John Kitson is not planning to return to general insurance, despite helping Towergate with marketing.

Sources close to Kitson said he assisted Towergate with work “for a few days here and there”.

The source said Kitson had “no plans to return to UK general insurance”, as he is enjoying his retirement. “John and Mark [Hodges, Towergate group chief executive] are still good friends. He wanted to help, Mark was keen, so he went ahead and did some consultancy work.”

Kitson is understood to have analysed Towergate’s marketing functions and presented his findings to the broker last week in workshops with executives. He is currently helping artists in Norwich build their businesses, in a non-paid capacity.

Kitson left Aviva in March last year, in what he called a “personal choice to have a rest, go fishing, write a book, go to Norwich City FC away games and take stock”.

Meanwhile, Hodges has told staff he wants to see stronger relationships between the Towergate companies. A possible option is the creation of refreshed products distributed across PowerPlace, the broking arm, and Towergate Underwriting.

Chief operating officer Graham Barr, previously director of products and markets, and integration director Jonathan Walker, will play a crucial role in improving relationships between Towergate divisions. Hodges’ challenge will be to maximise revenues in difficult trading conditions.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), the consolidator’s preferred metric, fell 11.9% to £66.7m in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year. This was largely down to the retail broking division, which had earnings drop from £36m to £31.3m.

However, Hodges will be comforted by the results of Towergate Underwriting, which showed a strong performance, increasing adjusted EBITDA from £16.2m to £17.2m.