Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Independent report by Gihan Thabrew, on Q2 E/MBA club on "PR & Comms in 21st century business", with Simon Burton, Acting Head of Corporate Affairs Camelot, 2012

Independent report by Gihan Thabrew, MEMBA09

The first part of the 2012 Q2 E/MBA Alumni Club social event was finding the fantastic location organised by the hard working Gareth Wong at the private members’ club “Eight Club Bank” (see Down the little alleys off Cornhill and knock on a black door to be let in….down three flights of stairs to the welcome drinks and a brief chance to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. 

 Our host was Simon Burton, the Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, Camelot [EMBA97] who introduced himself as an East End boy with a comparison to Jonathan Ross and Jeremy Beadle.  Simon is an ex-journalist who joined Fishburn Hedges,  completed his MBA in 2000 and joined Camelot 18 months ago managing corporate press aspects.  

Given the evening’s subject of “Reputation Management (RM): whose business is it?” there may have been some expectation on something relating to the dangers or risks of gambling.  Quoting the lines from Othello “Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial”, Simon explained how RM is more professional now and is about making sure there is no gap between what you say and do.  There is a need to be stronger with executive leadership with RM currently focused on defence rather than an attack minded tool to convey positive messages and create value.

Social media has been helping to change the value of RM.  Sainsbury’s are a company who do RM really well, for example with selling curved cucumbers, to drive value in the organisation.  Utilities and Pharmaceuticals organisations use RM to free some of their regulatory shackles and generate growth.  Contrary to these industries, Financial Services still have a long way to go in using RM well.

Finally, Simon noted that many CEOs spend a lot of time these days on R&R – Revenue and Reputation.  The question was then posed on how many business schools teach reputation…..a scandalous zero!!  Time for a new module at Cass we think…
An interesting Q&A session followed with a variety of questions asked.  For example, how you measure reputation impact depends on who you are targeting and how you measure against your competitors.  It’s the outcomes of what the target audience does as a result of your actions. A current day poser of what JP Morgan could have done would be to pre-empt the situation through honesty – go ugly go early!  Be bold, really thorough, get a clean slate and show control as soon as possible.  Simon highlighted how corporate news is now front page news, not just on the business pages hence the importance to manage reputational situations that will allow investor confidence to follow.  The Barclays Bob Diamond affair compared deserved reward with fair rewards with the 21st century a different era now about moral dimensions and what is fair. Customers who get fairness will help organisations to prosper.


To close, Simon stated that organisations will need to be on the front foot and assertive, to show rewards are deserved… Zeitgeist wins the day!!

A big part of these quarterly events is the networking opportunity offered and many stayed on to mingle, chat and learn more about what the Cass alumni network can offer.  I’m looking forward to the Q3 event already.  Hope to see a lot more new faces there!


@GarethWong: many thanks for Simon and everyone that supports us, including Gihan & previous independent reporter.. and of course Cass' Krista & team in helping out our badges and website signup logistics and Erica for helping us to reach new graduates. ;)

+++ Mark your diary now, Q3 E/MBA club is 16th Oct (topic below, location & signup will only be revealed to qualifying fellow City/Cass MBAs, please ask Cass Alum office or contact us via )

From bad loans to good business
Restructuring solutions for banks with Non Performing Assets

Asset Quality continues to be a drag on bank’s performance. Balance Sheet deleveraging is priority for most financial institutions in Europe. Join us for an interview with Caio Gilberti and John Maloney of AlixPartners, who will discuss how banks manage non-core assets, and their practical experiences of deleveraging banks’ loan portfolios and businesses across Europe.  John and Caio will also share the findings of their recent survey on ‘Credit, real estate and non performing loans’ . 

About the speakers:
Caio Gilberti is a Managing Director with AlixPartners. He brings more than 20 years of banking and consulting experience. Caio specialises in developing and executing strategies, business turnarounds, divestitures, acquisitions  and balance sheet restructuring for financial institutions. He managed the teams for Lehman Brothers Holding International responsible for disposing the bank equity investments and trading assets across the region. He has worked with leading global financial services institutions throughout the US and Europe.

Caio earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering and economics, and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. He has specialisation in Consumer Finance and Real Estate from Harvard Business School.

John Maloney is a Director with AlixPartners.  He has over 20 years experience of line management and strategic consulting spanning sectors including  consumer electronics, chemicals, government, financial institutions, construction and aerospace. Before joining AlixPartners, John spent over 10 years in strategic, IT and operations consulting at A.T. Kearney, KPMG and Unisys. John heads up AlixPartners Overhead Optimisation practice and has led Operational Cost Reduction, Strategy and Organisation Design engagements with companies such as BP, SAB Miller, Euroclear, and DWP.

John is an alumni of CASS Business School (EMBA 1987) as well as having a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Edinburgh University.

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