“The primary responsibility for the downfall of HBOS should rest with Sir James Crosby, architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster, with Andy Hornby, who proved unable or unwilling to change course, and Lord Stevenson, who presided over the bank’s board from its birth to its death”: cutting words from a report detailing how three men were largely responsible for the HBOS collapse.

An influential committee has said that financial influencers should consider banning Andy Hornby, Sir James Crosby and Lord Stevenson from any future roles in the financial sector. Further, The Banking Standards Commission has said that a significant amount of blame for the bank’s collapse lies with the three men, accusing them of a “colossal failure” of management.

Back in 2008 HBOS landed itself (or, more accurately, Crosby, Hornby and Stevenson, landed it) in some serious trouble. Lloyds Banking Group, alongside taxpayers’ money, rescued HBOS, preventing it from dissolving entirely.

HBOS is the UK’s 5th biggest bank, and suffered a “colossal failure” of management on the three bankers’ behalves. Making BBC news headlines, this story is one of epic proportions and ultimate publicity.

The commission accused HBOS of “reckless” lending policies. Reckless is, perhaps, an understatement, with them landing the bank with losses suffered of £46bn.

Hornby, Stevenson and Crosby have yet to comment on this latest accusation. If this news story shows anything, it is that once on the internet, a bad reputation is extremely damaging. The three men will most probably not only suffer in the world of work, but personally too. This story is bound to lose momentum over coming years, but for the three main targets involved will remain a sad part of their history.

Online reputation management can help restore the public’s faith in you, as an individual. Those who have erred in their past often find it hard to escape history due to the nature of the internet. Reputation management can help these people re-assess the way in which they are portrayed online, and help them to re-evaluate the message they would like to send out to the public. Perhaps it will be apologetic, perhaps it will be justification or righting untruths, or perhaps it will just be a general cleaning up act. Either way, no one has to suffer a bad online reputation indefinitely.

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