90 marketers face axe in RBS purge

NatWest marketers are squeezed out as Royal Bank of Scotland merges card services divisions

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has started to purge NatWest marketing personnel by merging the companies’ card services divisions and axing up to 90 staff.

The move was announced internally at the end of last week. The 170-strong NatWest card services marketing department is being slashed to about 80 people, with RBS personnel coming out on top.

The combined division will be headed by managing director Stephen Brannan, previously in charge of RBS’ card businesses. Marketing director of RBS card services Tim Lewis will become marketing director.

NatWest card services head of marketing Jeremy Nicholds left last month to join Europay International – which markets the MasterCard brand – as general manager (MW May 4). RBS head of customer acquisition Norma Gerrard will take up the same role in the new structure. Nicholds’ former deputy at NatWest, David Palmer, becomes head of customer marketing. Both report to Lewis.

The NatWest and RBS card brands will remain separate.

When RBS completed the £20bn hostile takeover of NatWest, it said that it would cut 18,000 jobs from the combined operation.

The marketing divisions of the retail banking operations have so far remained virtually unchanged, with Frazer Smith, head of marketing at NatWest, and Ian Henderson, RBS director of retail marketing, continuing in their roles.

NatWest’s £50m ad account is held by TBWA GGT Simons Palmer. RBS has reportedly been in talks with M&C Saatchi about the business.

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