Former Virgin Australia customer chief joins KPMG

John Hassell joins consultancy group's Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory practice

Mark Hassell
Mark Hassell

Former Virgin Australia chief customer officer, Mark Hassell, has become the latest high-profile brand marketing and customer executive to join a big consultancy, taking up a post with KPMG.

Hassall joins KPMG’s Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory business this week as a partner, bringing its total local headcount to 59 employees including eight partners. The practice was officially launched by KPMG in June after its acquisition of Australian market research firm, Acuity Research and Insights and is focused on customer experience strategy and design, customer journey mapping, sales and channel transformation, marketing, product and service transformation and customer insights.

Hassell was the chief customer officer at Virgin Australia for five years, sitting on the group management and executive committees. He left the airline last September following a reshuffle of executive ranks that saw the role removed.

Read more:Virgin's customer chief: Customer experience comes down to your people

Hassell played a key role in transforming the Virgin Blue airline into a full services player, creating and leading its customer, brand and marketing strategy. Those responsibilities are now under the remit of Inese Kingsmill, who joined Virgin last November.

He has more than 20 years’ experience in customer and brand leadership, having previously worked for British Airways and Qantas, and started his career as a flight attendant before moving up the ranks.

“For decades, the aviation industry has been the gold standard in innovating and transforming the customer experience,” partner in charge for the Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory, Paul Howes. “Mark brings not just this understanding, but also years of experience at the coalface in all aspects of brand transformation, including crucially, how to implement and embed it to deliver on business objectives.”

Howes said KPMG is ambitious to grow its customer practice in the face to growing desire but ongoing challenges organisations have in becoming more customer-led.

Commenting on his appointment, Hassell said a customer-centric culture not only has to be driven from the top, it also requires organisations to give customers an effective voice at the executive table.

“To engage and galvanise a whole organisation behind a compelling customer and brand vision that meets or exceeds customer needs is key to transforming business performance,” he said. “Everyone in a company, whatever their role, has a customer. A company that recognises and fully activates this will truly have the customer at its heart.”

Other marketing leaders who have jumped ship and joined the consultancy ranks include former GM of marketing at Metlife, Paul Bennett, who joined Capgemini to head up its customer and digital enablement practice; and former Network Ten chief brand officer, Matt McGrath, who has joined Deloitte as CMO.

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