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RSA head in the running as Lloyds Bank CEO

RSA head in the running as Lloyds Bank CEO | Insurance Business

RSA head in the running as Lloyds Bank CEO

RSA Insurance Group chief executive officer Stephen Hester has emerged among the top candidates for Lloyds Bank’s head position after current CEO António Horta-Osório announced that he would step down next year.

Hester, who previously worked as CEO at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group, joins UniCredit’s boss Jean-Pierre Muster, former HSBC chief John Flint, and Whitbread head and former head of retail at Lloyds Alison Brittain as the leading replacements, according to Goodbody analyst John Cronin. 

Horta-Osório’s announcement on Monday comes at a time when Britain’s biggest domestic bank has been dealing with the coronavirus fallout. The Portuguese banker had spent almost a decade as Lloyds’ chief.

Head of retail banking Vim Maru and commercial banking chief David Oldfield, who both have been at the forefront of the bank’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, are the likely internal candidates, Redburn bank analyst Fahed Kunwar said.

Finance director William Chalmers, who joined Lloyds last year, could also be in the frame as a potential replacement.

Horta-Osório’s departure, while expected, arrives at a time when banks are bracing for an economy in deep recession. 

Analysts say that his successor will need to push Lloyds “further into wealth management and online services” as the bank takes measures to boost profits in “an era of almost zero interest rates.”

Lloyds’ shares have been slashed by half since Horta-Osório took office in 2011, though they were higher for most of his tenure before plunging along with other bank stocks as the pandemic ravaged the sector.

The bank’s shares were up 2% on Monday following the announcement, but still lagged behind rival lenders in the FTSE 100 stock index amid a broad market rally.