Fred Goodwin’s Folly: RBS’s Business School
Robinson and Kerr’s study demonstrates how a locally produced but transnationally mobile financial elite, working with international business academics and architectural firms, established the RBS executive business school on the corporate campus. It shows how this project was intended to count as ‘symbolic capital’, resources holding value and prestige in a specific context, for the bank and its CEO, Fred Goodwin, whose brainchild it was. While the business school was designed to produce a corporate elite within RBS - a ‘crucible of leadership’ according to the then HR Director - it also counted as social capital that Goodwin could use to position himself within the banking elite and the wider society.
However, following Goodwin’s fall in 2009, the business school was quickly closed and the corporate campus, seen by commentators on the banking crisis as an impenetrable enclave of power and influence, attracted attention from the 2010 Climate Camp movement, including a mock siege and other forms of protest.
Sarah Robinson and Ron Kerr show that following Goodwin’s departure, the campus HQ and the Business School, now known as ‘Fred’s Folly’ played a role in his scapegoating by the media.
Robinson and Kerr will present their case study entitled: ‘Designing and contesting material and symbolic spaces for corporate elite reproduction: The case of RBS business school’ at the 28th EGOS Colloquium 5th-7th July hosted by Aalto University and Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland.
Sarah was featured by the Edinburgh Evening News - http://www.scotsman.com/edinburgh-evening-news/edinburgh/rbs-collapse-down-to-fred-goodwin-s-culture-of-fear-1-2370574 -