New Northern Rock HR director to arrive as bank sheds 1,300 jobs

Incoming Northern Rock HR director Richard Smelt faces a turbulent introduction after the troubled bank announced plans to axe 1,300 jobs before the end of the year.

Executive chairman Ron Sandler last week revealed there will be 800 compulsory and 500 voluntary redundancies over the next five months as Northern Rock resizes.

Under the plan, drawn up after consultation with trade union Unite, a further 700 jobs will be shed through natural turnover between 2009 and 2011. This will leave just 4,000 of the company’s current 6,000 workers.

Smelt, currently HR chief at Carphone Warehouse, will join Northern Rock on 15 September. The bank does not have an HR director at the moment.

Sandler said last week: “Confirming job losses is never easy, but our staff have been kept well informed, and the need to contract the size of the company is well understood.”

Northern Rock was nationalised at the beginning of the year after the credit crunch left it in severe financial difficulties.

A 30-day consultation process has begun with staff at risk of redundancy. Smelt was unavailable for comment.

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