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Northern Rock

Finance Transformation Programme


On the brink of collapse following the credit freeze in financial markets, a major British high street bank, was taken into public ownership. Following a strategic review, it was decided that the best way to secure the future of the bank was to split it in to two separate entities.

The success of this unprecedented restructuring rested on first separating all the various finance and accounting functions. To help them navigate this minefield, the CFO called in the expertise of Novo Altum.

Both sets of finance operations were fully functional on schedule. The client was positioned to retain control of its future and maintain sustainable change, providing a blueprint for others by securing UK and EC approval for its new structures.

The Challenge

Faced with such a high profile, nationally important project to deliver a restructuring programme of a kind never before been attempted, the challenges were unique and formidable, demanding innovative responses. Failure was not an option.

We had just nine months to define and implement the strategy, design and future architecture of Finance, Treasury and Tax for each of the new legal entities – a major undertaking. All these systems had to be fully operational on day one of the financial year – always the busiest time of year for any finance function.

The Solution

All Novo Altum’s extensive expertise and specialist capabilities would be required to help the bank’s severely depleted and demoralised team through such a daunting task. We needed to overcome scepticism, earn the trust of the team and demonstrate leadership if we were to work together with the client successfully to climb this mountain.

Our solution was simple – we became our client! By working hard to fully integrate with the client team after conducting a ‘path finder’ review, we developed a clear understanding of their situation, enabling us to define a solution that would exactly meet their requirements.


All teams, procedures and processes were successfully implemented on schedule to ensure both new entities had robust and fully-functioning finance and accounting functions in place from day one.

Novo Altum’s approach maintained a vital balance between the client’s in-depth internal knowledge and our significant consulting experience, so that the bank retained control of its own future and delivered sustainable change.

This unique project also paved the way for similar transformation projects at other banks, being the first to receive UK and EC approval.

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