Barclays cuts PR in spite of sagging image

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’.

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.



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