Northern Rock drafts in FD after nationalisation

Recently nationalised bank Northern Rock has handed a wide-ranging corporate comms brief to FD.

Northern Rock: new comms hire
Northern Rock: new comms hire
The agency takes over from fellow City firm Finsbury, which lost the account after ten years with the bank.

FD will advise on public affairs and internal comms as well as corporate and financial issues as the Northern Rock management team attempts to turn around the ailing firm.

Northern Rock comms director Brian Giles confirmed there had been 'discuss-ions with other agencies' but would not give details of who else pitched for the work.

FD CEO Geoffrey Pelham-Lane heads the account, with support from a team of nine. He will report to Northern Rock executive chairman Ron Sandler.

Northern Rock is a former building society that demutualised in 1997. It then became a FTSE 100 listed bank but ran into funding difficulties when it had to appeal to the Bank of England for emergency funding last summer. It was subsequently taken into public ownership last month.

The Chancellor came under fire this week over plans to exclude Northern Rock from the public finance figures in his first Budget next week.

Alistair Darling plans to exclude the bank's estimated £100bn liabilities from the headline figures, both next week and in future. Instead, the figures will be treated as a special item.

The Conservatives claimed that Darling was 'cooking the books' to avoid his rules being broken in his first Budget. Ministers have emphasised that the intention is to keep Northern Rock in public ownership only for a limited period and that it would be wrong to distort the overall figures by such an unusual circumstance.





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