I recently encountered an interesting conversation between two CIOs of two major
European banks. I won’t say anything more than one was a major French bank and
the other a major Dutch bank who both share the same building.
The first and second floor are occupied by the I.T. operations of the major
French bank, whilst the Dutch bank has the next three floors, using the top
floor as their customer hospitality suite because of the fantastic views up
The trouble is that you can see everything in all the offices on all the
floors as you go up in the lifts / elevators, because the building is all
That is why the Dutch bank’s CIO was lamenting the fact that the French
bank’s I.T. folks were giving the bank a bad image.
Well, the Dutch bank has a dress-down Friday. All other days the bank
requests staff to wear formal business attire and formal dress is mandatory for
anyone working or visiting the top floor: the customer hospitality suite.
Meanwhile, the French bank’s dress code is dress-down every day, as they do
not entertain any external hospitality. Just technical folks getting on with
running the bank’s data centre.
As a result, some of the nerdy Frenchie techies had taken the dress code to the
extreme by wearing ripped jeans and t-shirts with scruffy trainers. In fact,
some were even wearing the fashionable low-waist jeans that hang just beneath
your bum so that everyone can see your cool backside in all its naked or barely
This was causing much consternation for the Dutch bank who had no control
over what the first and second floor were wearing. As a result, you would
proudly entertain your top corporate clients to your hospitality suite
overlooking the Thames, whilst travelling through a reception and glass
lifts with a parade of scruffy staff in ripped jeans exposing builder’s
Trying to explain that it was actually another bank’s staff
apparently did little to pacify the customer’s displeasure.
Vive la Résistance!