Direct Line’s Chris Wermann has landed the newly-created role of
deputy director of group communications at parent company, the Royal
Bank of Scotland.
Wermann is currently head of corporate affairs at Direct Line, a key RBS
subsidiary. He has served in that role since early last year when he
joined from Financial Dynamics.
He started his career as a branch manager of the Woolwich building
society, before moving to PR. He then served for four years as PR
manager for Abbey National.
Wermann will assume his new role at RBS once he has appointed a
successor at Direct Line. He has engaged a recruitment consultancy to
look outside the company, but is also understood to be considering
Wermann will oversee PR for the telephone insurance business and the
Scottish bank as well as a host of further businesses. These include the
recently-acquired NatWest, the 50 per cent stake the company owns in
Tesco’s Personal Finance and Virgin One and the RBS’ American concern
The role has been created to allow the communications director, Howard
Moody, to concentrate on the PR aspects of integrating NatWest into its
new parent company.
’Integration is a tremendous challenge. We’ve made promises to the
market and now we have to deliver,’ said Moody.
Wermann will take over a team of 60 staff, covering media relations and
internal communications. The public affairs, community relations and
sponsorship briefs will continue reporting to Moody, who is based in
Edinburgh. The investor relations function for the plc comes under the
group finance department.
The RBS became the country’s third largest bank - after HSBC and Lloyds
- when it took over NatWest in March. It is now also a top ten European
Although RBS used Financial Dynamics to assist with the NatWest bid,
most of its PR work is done in-house. Only broadcast agency EMR is used
on a retained basis, while some agencies are used for specific projects,
such as Fodor Wyllie for the launch last year of directline.com.