Bradford & Bingley comms chief quits

Mortgage bank Bradford & Bingley’s communications chief Siobhan Hotten has quit after 11 years to take a ‘career break’.

The move comes just months after a major rationalisation of its business, which has seen its PR team slashed from eight people to three.

The company has promoted PR manager Nickie Aiken to replace Hotten as head of PR.

B&B sold its mortgage-brokering arm Charcol last December and its property business to Countrywide last October to enable it to ‘concentrate on its core business’ of mortgages, said Aiken.

The shake-up is part of recently appointed chief executive Steven Crawshaw’s new business strategy. Crawshaw, who arrived last April, has remodelled the company to put more focus on lending, savings and mortgage brokering.

Aiken takes up the reins as head of PR this week just two weeks after returning to the bank from maternity leave. Her first challenge will be to audit the firm’s in-house PR needs. Retained agencies Lansons Communications, which manages its consumer account, and Finsbury, which handles B&B’s financial account, will not be affected by the review, she said.

Aiken’s original role as property services PR manager was scrapped as part of the restructure.

She said: ‘I will be talking to the department heads to find whether our PR needs are covered.’

The strong housing market boosted B&B’s share price in 2004, which jumped by nine per cent alone last February. The firm’s pre-tax profits rose slightly from £240m in 2002 to £263m in 2003.

B&B employs around 3,000 staff, compared with more than 7,000 in 2000.

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