Northern Rock appoints Brunswick to handle all corporate comms

Northern Rock has shifted its entire corporate comms account to Brunswick as it prepares to exit public ownership.

Strategic: Northern Rock appoints Brunswick
Strategic: Northern Rock appoints Brunswick

The account had been held by FD since March 2008, when it won the business from ten-year incumbent Finsbury.

The change of advisors is understood to be reflective of the different priorities at bank since it appointed FD in the weeks following its nationalisation.

One agency source with knowledge of the process said the bank had come to the decision that Brunswick was better placed to offer the more wide-ranging strategic communications advice it felt it now needed.

Northern Rock comms director Brian Giles confirmed the appointment and said:  ‘Northern Rock has enjoyed a very good relationship with FD and we thank them for their commitment and professionalism. But we feel that the time is right for a fresh strategic approach, in support of the in-house comms team. The company believes that Brunswick can offer this at this important point in our rebuilding programme and we look forward to working with them.’

The change comes as the bank is now focussed on exiting public ownership rather than coping with nationalisation and will concentrating on communicating its new structure and increased lending plans.

Brunswick had already won a brief with the bank to lead a review of its comms approach earlier this year (PRWeek, 12 Feb) - an account that FD also pitched for.

As part of the revised state aid application with the European Commission that is currently being considered, the bank will split into what the press have termed a ‘good bank/bad bank’ structure, where most of its existing mortgage book will be separated from the bank itself.

The EC is conducting an investigation into whether Northern Rock’s government-funded status breached EU competition rules.

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