9th July 2012
One of the first initiatives for any incoming chief executives will be to address the group's poor public image. Barclays needs a charm offensive and it needs it quickly.
David Buik of Cantor Index writes on Sky News:"It is imperative that Barclays makes its enforced management changes sooner rather than later, pre-empting damage limitation.
"A charm offensive involving monthly meetings, to which shareholder clients, analysts and hacks are invited, is a pre-requisite for all banks, if trust is to be restored. This will be a five-year project."
Observers would be forgiven for forgetting that Barclays had already undergone a ‘charm offensive', as this article from 2010 demonstrates: "Outgoing Barclays CEO John Varley is to lead a concerted effort to improve the banks' image and standing by promising to lend £180bn a year to British companies and also by backing PM David Cameron's ‘Big Society' bank, designed to fund community projects, with £1.5bn between them. This follows another promise to support a venture capital fund with another £1.5bn." He also promised to find a way to reduce the annual banking bonus pool from around £7bn to £4bn.
There is widespread agreement that Barclays' PR has been terrible over the current crisis. Bob Diamond did not go quickly or graciously enough. Barclays has also let the speculation over whether he will receive his £17m payoff linger longer than it should have done, prompting politicians to seize the initiative.
Here are the RESULTS from last weeks 'Poll: Who should be the next CEO of Barclays?'
Nevertheless, the germ of a recovery may lie in good PR and it is building up a strong team.
The Independent's Danny Rogers says: "It now has access to some formidable PR talent. Its vice-chairman of corporate affairs is Howell James, the hugely experienced and well-networked former head of government communications. Stephen Doherty joined last week, from the much-admired Diageo, to be head of corporate communications. And the bank has just hired hot PR agency Portland, led by former Tony Blair adviser Tim Allan."
They may be experienced, but they have a mountain to climb.
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