The Queen’s banker Coutts & Co has appointed former Visa International
PR chief Deborah Botwood-Smith as its first in-house director of group
Botwood-Smith, who starts work at Coutts on 20 May, will handle PR for
both the 300-year-old UK private bank Coutts & Co and the international
private banking operations of parent NatWest, which have been brought
under the Coutts & Co Group umbrella. She will report to both Herschel
Post, chief executive of Coutts & Co and Hugh Matthews, chief operating
officer of Coutts Group
Following the re-organisation the bank is embarking on a more aggressive
drive to raise its profile overseas. Botwood-Smith said Coutts & Co was
also keen to ‘broaden its offering’ in the UK. so that it was seen as a
provider of ‘wealth management’ rather than simply an upmarket retail
Previously vice-president, corporate relations for Visa International,
where she ran an eight-strong team, Botwood-Smith left the company after
six years in 1995 to take a career break and start a family.
She started her career as a graduate trainee at Burson-Marsteller, where
she worked alongside B-M chief executive Alison Canning before moving to
Manning Selvage and Lee in 1987. She returned to B-M at the beginning of
1996, working alongside Canning as acting marketing director.
Botwood-Smith said she would be recruiting but it was too early to give
any details of in-house or agency resource she would be looking for.
Coutts has had a rough ride in PR terms since the revelation earlier
this year that it had allowed the Duchess of York to run up a pounds 1
million overdraft. Although the bank has served the Royal Family since
the time of George III, it has never officially confirmed it.
Last week the bank’s chief executive David Went came under fire for
breaking the vow of silence at a private dinner in Belfast. According to
press reports Went made a light-hearted reference to the Duchess of
York’s finances, saying: ‘It has never been a good banking principle to
lend money to the in-laws of your best customer.’