Northern Rock HR duo admit road to nationalisation was downhill all the way

Working in HR at Northern Rock in the run up to the bank being nationalised was “depressing”, two former members of its HR team have admitted to Personnel Today.

Maureen Lindberg, ex-assistant director of HR at the failedbank, took voluntary redundancy in August 2008 after witnessing the financial crisis destroy the once successful business.

Lindberg, who had been at the company for 18 years in various HR roles, initially worked on a huge growth strategy building the firm up from 2,000 to 6,500 employees, only to eventually cut 2,000 jobs in sweeping redundancies.

“During the crisis it was quite depressing for the [north-east] area and staff to have once been part of a successful organisation through to being branded as ‘beleaguered’,” she said.“People were uncertain about their future, and that manifested itself through the amount of time it took [from September 2007 to March 2008] to announce redundancies. It became a more difficult place to work as speculation grew.”

Monique Ewart, a senior HR manager made redundant in October last year, added that the HR team “pulled together” to cope with the difficult circumstances.

Ewart and Lindberg now plan to use their experience of restructuring and redundancyandhave set up an HR consultancy, Professional People Management.

Northern Rock was forced to ask the Bank of England for emergency funding in 2007, triggering the first run on a British bank in more than a century. It was nationalised in February 2008.

Ex-Carphone Warehouse HR director Richard Smelt was appointed as Northern Rock’s new HR chief in July 2008.

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