Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'We Are Going to Try to Change Banking for Good' Virgin Money Chief Says HQ Is 'Buzzing'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'We Are Going to Try to Change Banking for Good' Virgin Money Chief Says HQ Is 'Buzzing'

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Hebden

THE boss of Virgin Money yesterday told the company's new employees in the North East that they had the chance to transform the banking industry.

Chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia spent her first day at the former Northern Rock headquarters talking to staff about her ambitions for the business.

And she declared herself "genuinely delighted" by their response, saying the workforce was "engaged, welcoming, warm and excited about the future".

Work began in earnest yesterday on rebranding the former Northern Rock estate after the nationalised bank's acquisition by Virgin. The process is expected to take up to nine months, but the new corporate identity is already in evidence around the firm's new operational headquarters in Gosforth.

Following the takeover, Virgin money is the UK's seventh largest bank and Ms Gadhia said she anticipated seeing "significant growth" over the coming years. "I hope that we can genuinely offer real competition to the big five banks," she said.

Next week the bank will launch a major advertising campaign to coincide with the launch of a new range of savings products. The company is currently recruiting a small number of staff to work on that project and Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson is expected to visit Newcastle to meet his new employees. Ms Gadhia described the atmosphere at the company as "buzzing". "Everyone felt completely and utterly as if they wanted to take this forward," she said.

"Northern Rock has had a hard four years, but the people here have always diligently done what has been asked of them, whether that means growing in the good times, shrinking in the bad times, or splitting the business.

"The most important thing for the people here and for the North East is that there's a certain future when there's been so much uncertainty - a future of growth when there's been quite a lot of shrinkage and the chance to do something very significant in probably the highest profile business sector. …

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