Within the past week the bank has lost its head of comms and, PRWeek has learned, dispensed with former retained financial agency M:Communications in favour of Andrew Grant's Tulchan Communications.
Horta-Osorio, the former head of Santander's UK banking operation, took the reins at Lloyds in late February. One of his first acts was to bring in Matthew Young, formerly comms director at Santander UK, as corporate affairs director.
This move is believed to have triggered the resignation of group comms director Brigitte Trafford last week. Trafford is understood to have been asked to stay by Horta-Osorio, but decided to step down because of the changes within the comms structure.
Trafford led the repitch of the key Lloyds group-level PR account, with a final three-way pitch held last week. A number of top City agencies were precluded from the process owing to conflicts with other banking clients, although it is thought FD pitched unsuccessfully for the brief despite having HSBC on its books. M: is understood to have repitched.
Trafford said: 'We appreciate the support M: has given us over the past two years, but the new CEO wanted to bring in a new team.'
It is thought Horta-Osorio was instrumental in the decision to appoint Tulchan.
M: won the Lloyds account, previously held by Finsbury, in March 2009 and saw the exit of CEO Eric Daniels, chairman Victor Blank and comms head Shane O'Riordain during its tenure.
Former ITV comms head Trafford, who also appointed Tulchan at the broadcaster, will leave the bank at the end of the month and is expected to return to her independent consultancy work.
- IPSOS Mori said Lloyds Banking Group had improved its net press relations score by 45 percentage points in the second half of 2010
- One in five complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service in the six months to December was about Lloyds
- The Reputation Index of political professionals by PRWeek and PoliticsHome saw Lloyds as the second largest climber last year.