The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), has recently appointed Andrew Gowers as director of external relations, according to a Reuters report earlier this week. The association’s membership includes most of the big U.S. and European banks operating across the continent.
As Gowers led the disastrous PR campaign during the BP oil spill, the move puzzled the media. Instead of focusing on his career move, headlines focus on his association with BP, and editorials scrutinize his career in public relations “born of disaster.”
Andrew Gowers was in charge of BP’s PR in the first months of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and Gulf of Mexico oil spill. He was fired later on by BP’s new chief executive Bob Dudley, in an overhaul of BP’s comms operation, although initially the company expressed no intention to take such extreme actions, mentioning a reassignment instead. This was not Gowers’ first failure. His departure from the Financial Time in 2006 attracted some media flack, and the collapse of Lehman Brothers while he was still head of comms added another black mark on his professional portfolio.
Andrew Gowers has been working as a consultant to AFME for the last three months, according to the aforementioned Reuters report, helping the association edit the AFME book Investing in Change. As director of external relations, his responsibilities extend past those of a consultant – he will have to take proactive measures to rescue the tarnished reputation of so many banks in the association. But he can do it? Was AFME’s move wise, considering Gowers’ portfolio of PR blunders during the BP oil spill?