As with so many meetings now, my interview with Margaret Jobling takes place over Zoom. It’s something Jobling is used to; since she joined NatWest Group at the start of September as its CMO she has had to meet everyone virtually and get her around a new job, brand and business remotely.
“If you had said to me at the beginning of the year you will change job, go through an interview process, get the job, not meet a single person for at least six months, start working from home, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet here we are in October! It’s quite surreal but it shows the art of the possible,” she exclusively tells Marketing Week in her first interview since taking on the role.
The announcement of her job was met with some surprise. NatWest Group (which rebranded from RBS Group earlier this year) had previously said it was not planning to hire a CMO to replace David Wheldon, who retired in March, instead splitting his role into communications and marketing.
It hired Nigel Prideaux as group director of communications and corporate affairs and said it would also be hiring a director of marketing. Yet Jobling has the CMO role, albeit one that encompasses only the marketing and not the comms function well.
Jobling sees that as a sign of the importance of marketing at NatWest and the need to focus on its brand positioning and purpose. She is reporting into the CEO Alison Rose, who she says has a “clear vision” for the brand, one reason why she was keen to join.
“Splitting the role is a recognition there is a lot to be done with our corporate stakeholders and we need to invest some serious time and energy in trying to work out how we do a great corporate stakeholder job, while there is also a massive job to be done in marketing,” she explains.
“The role of marketing in the organisation is pivotal to be able to deliver the purpose, really drive the business and amplify the great stuff we are doing. When we [Rose and Jobling] spoke about the marketing and where she sees the business going, there is huge alignment.”