RKCR/Y&R has resigned the £20m Virgin Money account after nine years because of conflict fears over the brand’s ambitions to take over beleaguered bank Northern Rock. The WPP Group-owned agency also handles the £32m Lloyds TSB account.
It is thought Virgin Money’s aspirations to take over Northern Rock and take on its high street rivals – moving away from its traditional credit card-heavy business – has prompted the decision.
The agency retained the Virgin Money business following a review in June following the arrival of chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia (MW June 7). Beattie McGuinness Bungay also pitched.
Gadhia was previously marketing director of Virgin Direct, the life and pensions arm Virgin launched in 1995. She was later appointed as managing director of the Virgin One Account, the innovative mortgage off-set account, moving with it to Royal Bank of Scotland when it was sold.
She is touted to become the chief executive of the merged Northern Rock/Virgin Money operation if Richard Branson’s bid is successful.
The Lloyds TSB account is expected to grow following the bank’s appointment as the official bank and insurance sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics in a deal worth around £80m.