No Credit for Bankers

The former chairman of the banking and insurance group HBOS, Lord Stevenson, and chief executive Andy Hornby, along with the Royal Bank of Scotland's Sir Tom McKillop and Sir Fred Goodwin, appeared before a British parliamentary committee and profusely apologized for their role in the financial meltdown of the banks they had directed. If the four thought their apologies would garner sympathy, they misread the public mood. The Daily Mirror derided their statements as "a feeble apology." PR Week reported that John Mcfall, the chair of the committee, asked the bankers: "What exactly are you apologising for? Are you expressing sympathy because your PR advisers tell you to?" In 2004, senior vice-chairman of Weber Shandwick and former Sun editor David Yelland told PR Week, "The first thing you must accept is that some corporate errors are so bad that, to be honest, no one's going to accept your apology."