Charlotte Street Partners was approached by the chief executive of a UK bank in November 2021. He and his executive team were in the early stages of implementing a complex plan to wind-up the business within two years, in a sector highly scrutinised by regulators, policymakers, and the media. Demonstrating control and competence was paramount. The bank’s leadership needed advice, expertise, and practical support in managing the communication of that action to the bank’s various stakeholders.
We held an initial briefing meeting with the CEO and chairman, during which they explained the history of the company and the more recent background, giving context to the plans under consideration. After forming an initial view of what was required, we proceeded to scope out the options available, listing the advantages and risks associated with each, before presenting that analysis – and our recommendations – first to the bank’s exco, then to its board. In doing so, we won the confidence of the company’s leadership and shareholders and the licence to shape and deliver a communications strategy that would achieve the mutually agreed objectives.
We carefully mapped out the bank’s many different stakeholder groups – spanning customers, employees, brokers, regulators, and the media – then drafted a detailed plan setting out how we would communicate the news to each constituency and what we would say, with multiple versions of the central announcement tailored to meet the specific needs of each group.
We created a set of governance protocols for all proactive and reactive engagement, ensuring a disciplined approach to all communications, that was easy for everyone in the project team to understand and follow. We drafted an overarching narrative for the plan, explaining in simple, jargon-free language what was happening and why. We consulted widely within the project team, at all levels, to make sure a broad range of views and input was received.
In preparing for the announcement, we also compiled an extensive suite of Q&As covering every eventuality, giving comfort to the bank’s leadership that all bases were covered and providing customer-facing staff with everything they might need to handle incoming enquiries once an announcement had been made.
The bank announced its withdrawal from the market in early 2022 in an orderly, professional manner and is currently working through the plan to wind-up the bank by the end of 2023.