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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Monday, 8 December 2014

Benedict Brogan, turns his back on Fleet Street and joins Lloyds Banking Group



Benedict Brogan - that shirt will have to go....
 
Credit: REX/David Hartley/Rupert Hartle
Benedict Brogan, the former deputy editor and political commentator of The Daily Telegraph, and also the savvy former political editor of the Daily Mail, has turned his back on Fleet Street and joined Lloyds Banking Group as Director of Group Public Affairs and taken over from Dominic Morris, who is moving into "partial retirement".  We dear reader, still own a chunk of this reformed banking 'bad boy' .... purveyors of black horses, and those revolting puppet like never ending cartoon ad breaks...

In a short statement, Lloyds Banking Group said Brogan would "have responsibility for leading the bank’s engagement with government, legislators and regulators in the UK and European Union".

History will show that Fleet Street career journalists parachuted into banking public affairs and given a brief as wide ranging as this one: "....responsibility for leading the bank’s engagement with government, legislators and regulators in the UK and European Union...." don't always work out, unless the appointee not only has the immediate power and delegated authority to meet and deal with influential target audiences, and at a senior comparable level, and never pigeonholed as Head of Public Affairs. 

Career bankers will always act like bankers, possibly hunting and shooting, and may not easily see the value of what appears to be a non revenue producing drain on their bonus pot, because that is how bankers are wired.

Simply Benedict, a highly respected journalist and media commentator will now find that unless he is rapidly promoted to the Group Main Board, as a full main board director, and has the ear of the chairman; he'll find that progress will be like wading though treacle. however you dress it up, he'll  report to a line manager and chair endless committees, before any action is put before the board for sign off.

Simply the supreme power, influence and access he enjoyed as a revered Editor, has now been swept away and a new set of rules come into play. Poacher turned gamekeeper if you like.

I say this from experience as at one time, my then City firm was hired, to lead a foray into the offices of seven regional banks, over a period of six months, leaving no stone unturned, no secret unexposed. Each regional bank with its own general manager and well established public affairs function. All regions had its own culture, and very different ideas of what public affairs is all about.

For one it was a weekly sports newspaper supporting a local football team entirely financed and produced by the bank.

The public affairs chief had a passion for football but the rest of the bank didn't realise that was essentially the entire output, the newspaper handed out for free at home games to bemused supporters.

Another thought the public affairs function was simply corporate client entertaining at prime sporting events, the entire budget for that regional bank spoken for. On a grander scale, one opted for sponsorship of the Commonwealth Games, that year held in Belfast. The bank for some reason paid for an army of statisticians.  Fanfold books of hundreds of miles of computer printout filled a store room never to see the light of day....

One such public affairs department produced a small booklet filled with money off coupons.  The seventh public affairs chief had taken the banks advertising to heart and every weekend the public affairs staff would draw lots to see who would lose and condemned to wear the full on blue coloured lion outfit, the seven regional banks were none other than Girobank plc. Home of the blue lion..

In essence our client, the recently appointed group chief executive needed to fund out what they had all been doing and spending.. They didn't know at the time it was a precursor to the sale of the publicly owned seven regional banks collectively known as Girobank Plc.  Were they value for money

? A detailed main board report backed up by transcripts of detailed individual interviews with members of staff in each and every department. The outcome would be a main board report on what had been happening at the seven regional banks that made up the entirety of Girobank Plc. The head office and computer in Bootle but the plush main board offices in Milk Street, City of London.

It became clear that in order to find out who does what we needed an organigram, a complete understanding of who reported to where and how both solid and dotted line reporting functioned. No one could tell us...

Although we could piece together sections of various divisions, it became clear that no one had ever put the whole picture together. Painstakingly thorough research and drill down interviews we managed to work it out; the complete chart was the size of a roadside billboard - huge.

Directors of the bank admitted that no one had actually done that before and as a result though organic growth and other sections bolted on to meet specific functions, no one had really considered that the original structure was now completely different animal. The blue lion costumes have long gone, the bank sold. But When Mr Brogan get handed the keys to the executive wash room, don't be surprised if the Lloyds black horse animal stage outfit is ready waiting and hanging up in the closet....  still its better than being a sock puppet...
 

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