Rolls-Royce : Speedy sorry

A UK engineering group wastes no time issuing a public apology on its corporate home page.

click to view

The feature

On January 17th the UK government formalised an agreement with Rolls-Royce, the UK-based engineering group, to pay £671m in fines to the UK, US and Brazilian authorities for fraud and bribery stretching across three decades.

By the next day (possibly before) the full screen banner image on the company’s corporate website had a picture of CEO Warren East and the headline ‘Rolls-Royce completes agreements with investigating authorities’. The headline linked through to the media section, with a video apology from Mr East, press releases in several languages, Q&A, a link to the company’s Flickr gallery and other resources.

The takeaway

As online corporate mea culpas go, the Rolls-Royce home page banner apology went up unusually quickly. As of Tuesday, two weeks after the UK judgement, it was still on the home page, although relegated to one of the smaller image panels below the main image.

It is not clear whether the website apology was part of the settlement (we could not find any reference to the corporate website in a quick scan of the documents). Regardless, after such a high-profile and wide-ranging case of wrongdoing, it makes sense to say ‘sorry’ quickly, completely and prominently online.
First published 01 February, 2017
< Back to Tips