Wermann goes in Abbey audit.

Abbey National’s group PR manager Chris Wermann has become the first casualty of recently appointed director of corporate communications Nick Chaloner’s new regime.

Abbey National’s group PR manager Chris Wermann has become the

first casualty of recently appointed director of corporate

communications Nick Chaloner’s new regime.



Chaloner, who joined the UK’s second biggest mortgage lender and fifth

biggest overall bank in April (PR Week, 18 April), has instigated an

in-depth overhaul of operations in his 70-strong department.



The communications audit, which encompasses both internal and external

strategy, is designed to make the Abbey more proactive and put greater

emphasis on broadcast media.



’We want to achieve greater synergy and more momentum. This is an

increasingly competitive market and we have to become far more

proactive,’ Chaloner said.



Wermann, who had been with the Abbey for over three years, has taken

voluntary redundancy on ’very generous terms’ and is understood to be

looking for a position outside London. He has left his office, but

remains on the payroll until he has secured another job.



Chaloner described Wermann as ’a very well respected’ operator. He said

that Wermann’s job had ceased to exist following a reorganisation of the

department. ’I have taken on some of his responsibilities,’ said

Chaloner, ’and we have beefed up the media relations teams. There was no

longer an obvious need for a group public relations manager.’



Unlike his predecessor, Jane Ageros, Chaloner reports directly to deputy

chief executive Charles Toner and the board.



As part of the review, Chaloner has appointed its first dedicated public

affairs executive, Joel Freyerherm. The final results of Chaloner’s

audit will be announced in a month’s time.



Abbey National only uses outside agencies on a project basis - typically

for bids or take-overs - and Chaloner said that he has no intention of

changing that.



Wermann joined the Abbey from the Alliance and Leicester Building

Society in February 1994 where he was assistant press and PR manager.

Previously he was assistant media relations manager for the Woolwich

Building Society.



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