SIR Richard Branson was in Newcastle today to meet Northern Rock staff who are now part of his Virgin business empire.
Sir Richard’s Virgin Money took over the bank from the Government on January 1 and was marking the completion of the deal, together with Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia.
They met Northern Rock staff and customers at the Northumberland Street branch in Newcastle.
Sir Richard Branson said: “The Virgin Group has always gone into markets where there’s been an opportunity to make things better for customers.
“We’ve been doing it for 40 years, with some real milestone moments along the way, from our first steps in the record industry to launching Virgin Atlantic. Now we want to do the same for banking.
“It’s not something we take lightly. There’s a lot of hard work ahead. But we have the people, the products and the plans in place.”
He will spend two days meeting Northern Rock staff, beginning with a tour of branches in the North East as well as meeting staff in the operational headquarters in Newcastle before moving on to the Virgin Money offices in Edinburgh, Norwich and London.
Ms Gadhia said: “I am delighted to mark the acquisition of Northern Rock and the beginning of our quest to make banking better with all the fantastic people we have working for the combined business.
“I am also pleased to announce the Virgin Money Board and Executive Team. The demonstrable skill and experience of the Executive Team and Board makes us certain we can make a positive difference in UK banking. Together, with the newly combined workforce, we have a significant opportunity to build a new kind of bank, one that people will want to be a part of."
>> Turn to page 2 to see a video of Sir Richard Branson in Newcastle