Barclays is pressing ahead with the abolition of four of its five
communications divisions, despite a recent admission by its chief
executive that the bank ’is not very good at PR’.
The bank’s group function, led by corporate communications director
Leigh Bruce, uses Brunswick as its retained PR agency. A bank
spokeswoman said it would now institute a thorough review of ’how
unpopular decisions are communicated.’
Chief executive Matt Barrett’s comments were made in front of a
Parliamentary committee investigating public responses to a succession
of PR debacles since the new year, including the fallout from charging
non-customers for using cash machines, and the cost-cutting closure of
more than 170 rural branches.
The bank - which until now maintained a corporate PR centre and separate
PR functions for its four major business divisions - is in the advanced
stages of plans to merge them all into one. Four communications director
posts, at Retail Financial Services, Corporate Banking, Barclays Capital
and Barclays Global Investors, will disappear in the shakeup.
RFS’ communications director and board member Paul Barber announced this
week he is to join the Football Association as marketing and commercial
development director next month. His departure is not linked to the
recent furore over PR. The Retail Financial Services roster of agencies
for product and consumer PR - Hill and Knowlton, GCI Group and Lexis PR
- is not thought to be in jeopardy.