Profile: Peter Krijgsman, ING Barings: An editorial withdrawal - Peter Krijgsman aims to take media relations at ING Barings to new heights

The first thing you notice about Peter Krijgsman is his height.

The first thing you notice about Peter Krijgsman is his height.



At six foot six inches, he towers over everyone around him. ING Barings

could hardly have chosen a more prominent director of corporate

communications.



In other ways, too, Krijgsman is a striking choice for the Dutch-owned

investment bank. An experienced financial journalist rather than a

seasoned in-house PR man or agency consultant, he is a comparative

newcomer to the communications fold. But few former colleagues are

surprised by his appointment.



’He’s well introduced to the financial markets and has established good

contacts there,’ says one. ’He’s very bright and grasps issues quickly

and is very creative in terms of business ideas.’ Others mention

Krijgsman’s charm and wit and refer to his openness and ability to put

over a complex story clearly and persuasively.



Born in Canada of Dutch parents and brought up in Britain from the age

of ten, Krijgsman started out as a journalist in 1979 as a staff writer

for Accountancy Age. After becoming deputy editor there he moved to

Financial Decisions - later renamed Financial Director - in 1984 as

editor before helping to launch Corporate Money in 1987. A year after

that he got his first taste of PR when he took a job as an account

executive with financial consultancy Gavin Anderson. He quit a few days

later.



’Gavin Anderson was a pretty small agency at that time and was

struggling to make itself felt,’ recalls Krijgsman. ’Essentially I was

joining a marginal agency from a marginal trade magazine and it wasn’t

serving either of us very well. If I had been a heavy hitter from the

Sunday Times I might have been able to build up business.’



A joke by John Cleese, picked up from a PR Week conference report,

helped prompt his resignation. ’Cleese opened up the conference with

what is probably a terribly old joke in the industry: ’How many PR men

does it take to change a light bulb?’ Answer: ’I’ll have to get back to

you on that’. And I thought that just about sums it up. I had all these

clients and knew nothing about them. I like to understand what I am

working on.’



After leaving Gavin Anderson Krijgsman became editor-in-chief of

International Financing Review for five years and then went freelance in

1993. During this period he began writing corporate brochures and

speeches for financial firms such as Merrill Lynch Europe, which

eventually hired him as a communications consultant. The company had

recently bought UK stockbrokers Smith New Court and wanted to

communicate the significance of the acquisition to its 49,000 employees

worldwide.



Krijgsman strongly believes that good internal communications is

essential for the smooth running of any organisation, and it is a

function he intends to take seriously at ING Barings. ’Like Merrill

Lynch and Smith New Court you’ve got two organisations - ING and Barings

- which joined together,’ he says. ’The clients of these businesses are

global clients so if you work for one part of the company it’s in your

interests to know that someone else has a relationship with them in

another part of the world. Everybody gets very excited about mergers and

acquisitions and then it all gets forgotten. What really appeals in this

situation is helping the two get closer together.’



As to the future, Krijgsman does not look beyond the 3 February starting

date with ING Barings. But he is confident about adapting to his new

role on the other side of the media fence.



’There are a lot of journalists that have gone into this game and

decided to back out again,’ he admits. ’But equally there are quite a

few that have made a tremendous success of it - in the financial sector

in particular.



I’ve been moving towards this steadily over the last three years through

speech and brochure writing and I’m confident that those little demons

that do come up - that you’d like to be a reporter again - have all gone

back to bed. I don’t think they are going to get up again.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1979

Staff writer, Accountancy Age

1987

Editor, Corporate Money

1988

Editor-in-chief, International Financing Review

1996

Communications consultant, Merrill Lynch Europe

1997

Corporate communications director, ING Barings



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