What the papers say: Abbey boss fails to put out flames

An AGM halfway through a painful restructuring programme, shareholder disquiet over executive pay and corporate rebranding, and a profit warning, were never going to generate glowing press coverage, but Abbey made it even worse.

Chief executive Luqman Arnold’s attempts to mitigate investors’ pain over the demise of Abbey’s share price and focus the media onto the positive, namely a slow return to profit and the need for the new corporate identity – deemed ‘essential to improve staff morale and release energy’ by The Glasgow Herald (23 April) – failed to make a dent in the negative media coverage.

Analysts’ recommendations to sell and observations that Abbey had become the worst-performing blue-chip stock completed the picture.

According to ex-Sun editor David Yelland, writing in The Times, problems always arise when media interest expands from the City pages to the front page: ‘You have to say it simple and mean it. The message has to be honed and honest because it will be tested by fire’ (23 April). Abbey got roasted last week.

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.



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