Prudential slashes six corporate affairs staff

Top 5 UK bank the Prudential has had a staff clear-out at its corporate affairs department and made six out of the 34 employees redundant.

Top 5 UK bank the Prudential has had a staff clear-out at its corporate affairs department and made six out of the 34 employees redundant.

A major staff overhaul has been forced through by Geraldine Davies, the group's director of corporate relations appointed earlier this year (PRWeek, 1 September) from a similar post at Lloyds TSB.

The most senior victim of Davies' axe-wielding is thought to be Claire Hitchcock, the head of corporate social responsibility.

Prudential sources would not confirm Hitchcock's departure but it is understood she will leave early next year.

Leaving sooner than that are two unnamed members of the nine-strong media relations and internal communications unit.

Head of group media relations Steve Colton is thought to be safe, since he only joined the Prudential - as part of the fallout of the Royal Bank of Scotland's takeover of NatWest - two months ago.

It is also understood that Damian Leeson, head of group public affairs and the third of Davies' direct reports, is not about to leave, though one unnamed member of his government relations team is.

The six are made up of these four, plus another from Hitchcock's CSR team and one member of the department's support staff.

Colton said: 'We have had a review of the team and last week the total headcount was reduced from 34 to 28. I will not comment on the position of individual members of staff.'

Davies is understood to have thought that work was being duplicated across the group because of over-staffing.

The Prudential's business units include M&G, internet arm Egg, Scottish Amicable and Retail financial services. Each of these has its own press and PR function.

Davies' review is not thought to have stretched as far as the bank's agency roster, which remains intact .

Brunswick handles corporate and financial PR for the FTSE 100 company, while Lexington Communications has worked on the public affairs brief since its foundation two years ago.

Colton replaced Jeremy Reynolds in the group media relations role.

Reynolds left to join venture capitalists Cognition Ventures in the summer.'The group press office will now concentrate its efforts more on corporate and city issues,' he said.

'This has reduced the need for people in that function. There is simply not the need for the previous headcount given that businesses had their own PR functions,' he added.

The Prudential group's investor relations team sits within the group finance function although it works closely with corporate affairs.



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