Abbey National’s group PR manager Chris Wermann has become the
first casualty of recently appointed director of corporate
communications Nick Chaloner’s new regime.
Chaloner, who joined the UK’s second biggest mortgage lender and fifth
biggest overall bank in April (PR Week, 18 April), has instigated an
in-depth overhaul of operations in his 70-strong department.
The communications audit, which encompasses both internal and external
strategy, is designed to make the Abbey more proactive and put greater
emphasis on broadcast media.
’We want to achieve greater synergy and more momentum. This is an
increasingly competitive market and we have to become far more
proactive,’ Chaloner said.
Wermann, who had been with the Abbey for over three years, has taken
voluntary redundancy on ’very generous terms’ and is understood to be
looking for a position outside London. He has left his office, but
remains on the payroll until he has secured another job.
Chaloner described Wermann as ’a very well respected’ operator. He said
that Wermann’s job had ceased to exist following a reorganisation of the
department. ’I have taken on some of his responsibilities,’ said
Chaloner, ’and we have beefed up the media relations teams. There was no
longer an obvious need for a group public relations manager.’
Unlike his predecessor, Jane Ageros, Chaloner reports directly to deputy
chief executive Charles Toner and the board.
As part of the review, Chaloner has appointed its first dedicated public
affairs executive, Joel Freyerherm. The final results of Chaloner’s
audit will be announced in a month’s time.
Abbey National only uses outside agencies on a project basis - typically
for bids or take-overs - and Chaloner said that he has no intention of
Wermann joined the Abbey from the Alliance and Leicester Building
Society in February 1994 where he was assistant press and PR manager.
Previously he was assistant media relations manager for the Woolwich