NEWS: Botwood-Smith banks on revitalising Coutts

The Queen’s banker Coutts & Co has appointed former Visa International PR chief Deborah Botwood-Smith as its first in-house director of group corporate communications.

The Queen’s banker Coutts & Co has appointed former Visa International

PR chief Deborah Botwood-Smith as its first in-house director of group

corporate communications.



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

bank.



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.’



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