Magazine article Marketing

Focused on Energy

Magazine article Marketing

Focused on Energy

Article excerpt

A spate of phone calls to friends and ex-colleagues of Jon Kinsey, the newly appointed managing director of the LE Group energy retail business, reveal the man to have only three faults. He's small. He "looks dangerously like William

Hague". And he chews Blu-Tac around the office.

Not exactly serious character flaws. And even these three weaknesses are cited affectionately, especially by long-standing friend Alistair Richards, managing director of games giant Hasbro in the UK and Northern Europe.

The pair began their careers together at Colgate-Palmolive where they worked on everything from nappies to toothpaste.

They worked together again at Hasbro, where Kinsey was international vice-president of games, and they now catch up every couple of weeks on the golf course. Richards says his friend hasn't lost his 'work hard, play hard' mentality.

Those who know him from a purely work environment, however, all remark on his clear and strategic way of thinking. The words 'dynamic' and 'focused' crop up repeatedly.

Tony Mooney, head of CRM at Orange, reported to him when Kinsey was marketing director at British Gas and is full of superlatives to describe his ex-boss.: "He's very driven. Very bright. Very results oriented. And a very cool operator."

Mooney thinks Kinsey will bring this lucidity and drive to his new role and his enthusiasm and flair will stand out in a" dull and stodgy sector".

Kinsey is a hands-on leader. In his days at British Gas he was one of the few directors that would regularly take a break from the boardroom suite to get up to speed with his staff and the day-to-day nitty gritty.

"He doesn't like management puff and over-intellectualism," says Mooney. Simon Waugh, group marketing director at Centrica, who was Kinsey's boss at British Gas, agrees.

"He's not the sort of guy to spend months and months pontificating," says Waugh, speculating that once Kinsey gets in the driving seat at the LE Group he will waste no time pursuing his strategy.

One of the key decisions Kinsey will have to make is how to take the brands within the group (London Electricity, SWEB and Virgin Energy) forward - his is the first role to encompass all three brands.

The fact that he left British Gas to take up a role with Virgin Energy, would suggest that, of the three, his allegiance lies with Branson's brand.

A decision to ditch regional branding would make sense if the group is serious about competing on a national level. Nevertheless, some commentators are wary of the Virgin brand and warn of a backlash against the label that has moulded itself as the consumer champion. …

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