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Charlesworth - Public Relations - Leeds, England, UK

Nigel Charlesworth

Leeds, England, UK


I was formerly head of PR at dedicated business-to-business division, UKI Partnerships – part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group.

There he was spokesperson and responsible for promoting products and managing the reputations of companies including Green Flag, Prudential general insurance, Tracker Network UK and Inter Group Insurance Services. He has also worked with clients such as NatWest, MINT, Vauxhall, BMW Financial Services, Caravan Club and the RSPCA.

I have also done stints at Northern Rock, working on Corporate Communications, projects and personal finance products and set up the PR function at newly-formed UK Asset Resolution which manages Northern Rock (Asset Management) and Bradford & Bingley.

Before joining RBS, I was PR manager and spokesperson at Green Flag, the UK’s third largest vehicle rescue company, where he was responsible for consumer PR campaigns and providing PR services to numerous clients including SAGA and Citroen.

I cut my media teeth working as a PRO in the NHS at the sharp end of acute medical services in Belfast during the troubled 1990s. With this experience, I moved to Teesside to take up the challenge of enhancing the reputation of community and mental health services in the region.

A move to the Royal Mail in the late 1990s saw me manage a large team delivering events, internal communications and major projects across the North East.

I like to think I bring extensive trade and consumer media experience to The Smart Agency and have managed major events and run high-profile national and community sponsorship campaigns.

I am a full member of the Chartered Institute of PR since 1996 and hold a diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the CIPR.


Public Relations


I have worked in-house at companies such as Green Flag, RBS Insurance, Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, so have experience of consumer, personal finance and corporate PR (and a fair bit of reputation protection). Writing press releases and engaging with journalists is a pleasure, as is writing copy, social media and being spokesperson. Agency side experience means I am used to presenting, proposing creative ideas and running campaigns.

Work History


The Smart Agency

From December 2011

External Communications Manager

UK Asset Resolution Ltd

November 2010 - November 2011

External Communications Manager

UKAR formerly Bradford and Bingley Building Society

November 2010 - November 2011

From establishment of the company, I took the lead in proactive media relations and reputation management by forging contacts with key stakeholders and media. The role involved close liaison with counsel board and executive committee members to provide counsel and advise on handling media issues. I also managed the performance of advisors Brunswick and worked to develop strategy and a delivery plan which included establishing core messages and CSR and encouraging positive coverage of financial results.

Corporate Communications Manager

Northern Rock

October 2009 - November 2010

Corporate Communications Manager

Northern Rock

October 2009 - October 2010

Daily relationships with national and regional media. Planning communications activity around major announcements and specific projects. Updating core message materials and providing lines to take on a range of issues.


The Smart Agency

From July 2007


The Smart Agency

October 2007 - October 2007

Business development, servicing accounts, strategic advice and general management.

Acting Brand Manager - Green Flag

RBS Insurance

September 2006 - August 2007

Working within a marketing team to develop the Green Flag brand, advertising media planning, sponsorship and supporting affinity partners with targeted marketing.

Also, I lead on the selection of PR and advertising agencies tp take the brand forward and was part of a project team to determine brand strategy and insight.

Head of Public Relations

RBS Insurance (Partnerships)

August 2002 - October 2007

Strategic PR and Comms for RBS businesses - UKI Partnerships, NIG and Green Flag. Leading a team of four and working in Leeds and London on a range of consumer and business-to-business campaigns to raise the profile of the Green Flag brand and UKI Partnerships as an insurance partner and underwriter.

Head of PR

RBS Insurance

January 2001 - October 2007

Public Relations Manager

Green Flag

January 1999 - January 2002

Reporting to the Marketing Director, I implemented proactive PR campaigns to drive sales and sustain awareness of the Green Flag brand and management of internal communications across the business up to and during acquisition. I also worked closely with affinity partners to ensure the wholesale product was promoted effectively to their customer base. Management of a PR agency relationship and PR executive.

Head of Comms Services

Royal Mail

January 1997 - January 1999

Managed a team of 8 for six months then the events team and internal comms managers across the North East and Yorkshire region. Introduced Special Delivery across the delivery network in the NE and supported community projects.

Public Relations Manager

South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust

January 1995 - January 1997

Managed 24-hour media response service for a large NHS trust serving Middlesbrough and East Cleveland.
Produced publications such as annual reports and patient information and edited the employee magazine, which was shortlisted for an award from the National Association of Healthcare Professionals.
Provided support to health promotion and exhibition teams and developed and implemented a proactive communications strategy to enhance the profile of community and mental health in the area. Handled crisis media communications during major incidents.

Public Relations Officer

Belfast City Hospital NHS Trust

January 1989 - January 1995

Hands-on role with extensive daily contact with local, national and international media.
Writing press releases, event management including exhibitions, editing staff and GP publications and producing patient advice material using desk top publishing software.


Media relations management of large press offices

I have managed the press office operation for Bradford & Bingley (UKAR) and worked as a valuable member of the Northern Rock media team. At RBS, I ran a team of five in a press office in Leeds and London and while at an agency, ran outsourced PR operations for a number of companies.

Media Relations Campaigns

Like many urban areas homes in Greater Manchester are at a high risk of crime, with the burglary rate in the area far above the national average (according to the British Crime Survey). Halifax General Insurance decided to increase awareness of this risk as part of a wider marketing and sales push in the area for its Halifax Home Insurance products.

•Raise awareness of the risk of burglary and the need for home insurance
•Position Halifax Home Insurance as an expert on home security and to drive sales for its insurance products

Strategy and plan

The media relations approach focused on two key seasonal times when homes are at a greater risk of burglary: in October when the clocks change and in the run up to Christmas when homes are full of presents.

Greater Manchester Police were approached for advice and recommended the force’s former crime prevention head David Heathcote as a spokesman for the campaign.

When clocks were due to change, a press release was issued detailing the 5,000 burglary-related claims that Halifax has received over the past five years from Greater Manchester residents, totalling around £6.6m.

I commissioned a survey which highlighted the statistic that six per cent of local people regularly left doors unlocked when away from their home.

Press releases were also sent out in the first weekend in December and the week before Christmas, detailing further research from. Using the data, I discovered that 200,000 households were left empty at Christmas, with a fifth of those going away saying they had no plans to improve security before setting off.

Results and evaluation

The campaign generated 25 pieces of coverage, including two articles in the Manchester Evening News. Radio coverage included features on BBC Manchester, Century FM and was also featured on local satellite TV station, Channel M.

Evaluation I carried out showed that all coverage mentioned Halifax and 60 per cent promoted either specific products or key messages.

Run the week after the clocks changed, a dedicated telesales phoneline set up by Halifax received 100 calls.

Qualifications & Certifications

Public Relations

Leeds Metropolitan University

Institute of Public Relations Diploma

Leeds Metropolitan University

City & Guilds Certificate in Media Techniques - Radio & Press Journalism

Belfast College of Further and Higher Education

CIM Diploma in Marketing

Belfast College of Further and Higher Education

Business and Finance

University of Ulster

BA Business & Finance

University of Ulster

Annadale Grammar School

Annadale Grammar School

Annadale Grammar School, Belfast

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