NatWest slashes marketing posts

Jobs face axe as UK banking giant restructures retail marketing divisions under Frazer Smith

NatWest is understood to be axing up to 250 marketing jobs in a restructure which will see its five retail marketing divisions replaced by a centralised unit.

The new centralised retail marketing division – to be headed by Frazer Smith – will oversee small business, mortgage, insurance and life operations, in addition to retail. At present, the five marketing units are headed by Peter Ibbetson, David Strange, Darren Nightingale, Mark Howe and Ian Peters. Their roles in the new structure have yet to be determined.

Smith, former managing director of United Biscuits in western Europe, was brought in earlier this year (MW April 29) as director of strategic marketing NatWest operations to head a new marketing department running across the entire NatWest group.

In his new role as director of marketing for retail banking, Smith will retain responsibility for group marketing and continue to report to Norman Blackwell, head of retail strategy.

Under the present structure, each retail business unit is dealt with by a different marketing department. The five units employ about 450 staff between them.

A NatWest spokesman concedes there “could well be job losses” but says it is too early to give further details.

The new structure will go live early next year. Some sources claim the restructure could cost at least half of NatWest’s retail marketing jobs.

Malcolm Oliver, former marketing director at the life divisions of Norwich Union and Barclays Bank and now a management consultant at Oliver Small Partnership, says: “A restructure of this magnitude [250 marketing job losses] is entirely plausible. When you are merging five operations, you can easily cut the number of jobs in half. And the immense cost of the restructure means you would have to shed many jobs to make it worthwhile.”

Lloyds TSB slimmed down staff numbers at its retail marketing division – to about 300 – following the two banks’ merger.

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