Abbey National has hired Brunswick as its retained financial and
corporate PR agency on annual fees of almost pounds 250,000.
Corporate affairs director Thomas Coops, appointed just last month (PR
Week, 31 March) made the decision last week after a pitch process which
included Financial Dynamics.
The brief covers corporate and financial PR support, together with
investor relations advice and some work aimed at defending the Abbey
from hostile takeovers. The bank originally hired Citigate Dewe Rogerson
late last year for this project, although the link with Citigate came to
an end last month. Brunswick’s account team will be led by senior
partner Susan Gilchrist.
Coops told PR Week he had decided to bring in a full-time retained
agency to give ’across the board’ advice on ’how to do things
differently’. It is understood this will include work on new media
initiatives and a full review of the company’s 50-strong in-house
corporate affairs function.
Coops stressed: ’This is not an exclusive agreement with Brunswick. I
believe in having a large squad of agencies to choose from for specific
projects, including many we have worked with before.’ Individual
businesses within the group use agencies for product and consumer
Abbey National, a former building society which voted to demutualise in
1989 and is now a top five UK bank, made pre-tax profits of almost two
billion pounds in 1999.