Scandal-hit Standard Chartered calls in Maitland

Scandal-hit bank Standard Chartered has called in Maitland as its corporate comms adviser, splitting with RLM Finsbury after a decade.

Standard Chartered: Shanghai offices
Standard Chartered: Shanghai offices

The appointment comes as Standard Chartered is embroiled in an international scandal after US regulators accused the bank of hiding US$250bn (£160bn) of transactions with the government of Iran.  

The timing of Maitland’s appointment is understood to be largely coincidental. PRWeek broke the news that the UK-listed banking group was reviewing its retained financial comms account in May.  

Maitland won the brief via a large-scale competitive pitch process, understood to have included submissions from over ten City agencies.  

Finsbury’s previous account with Standard Chartered was thought to have been worth around £250,000 a year in retained fees. Maitland is understood to be on a significantly smaller retainer, with its brief centred on strategic comms advice where needed.  

Tim Baxter, Standard Chartered's London-based head of corporate comms, told PRWeek in May: 'Companies change over time and like many big firms we've built a strong in-house team over the past five years and the nature of support we need has probably changed.'  

Maitland confirmed its appointment in a statement that read: ‘Maitland is delighted to announce it has been appointed by Standard Chartered PLC, the international bank, as its corporate communications adviser, following a competitive tender and the reorganisation of its communications and agency support.  

‘Maitland will support Standard Chartered’s in-house team in building a stronger and consistent corporate narrative, broadening and further differentiating its reputation amongst corporate audiences.’  

Maitland CEO Neil Bennett will lead the account, alongside partner George Trefgarne and consultant Andy Donald.

Last month Maitland was called in by former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond to handle his personal PR following his resignation from the bank after the Libor trading scandal.

Standard Chartered’s share price fell by as much as 20 per cent this morning as the market reacted to yesterday’s revelations over its alleged links to Iran.

UPDATE: This morning Standard Chartered released a statement saying the bank 'strongly rejects the position or the portrayal of facts as set out in the order issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services'.

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