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Opinion

Lloyds Bank surprises with hire of HSBC’s Nunn to replace Horta-Osório

Investors and analysts had expected an insider to succeed António Horta-Osório, but new CEO Charlie Nunn could still be a continuity candidate when he is allowed to take his post.

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News that Lloyds Banking Group has hired Charlie Nunn, head of wealth and personal banking (WPB) at HSBC, to be its next chief executive comes as a surprise.

With a new chairman, Robin Budenberg, also due to take over at Lloyds from Lord Blackwell at the start of January, the assumption among analysts and investors had been that an insider would fill the shoes of António Horta-Osório.

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Charlie Nunn

The famous Portuguese banker, who worked tirelessly to restore the UK bank after its government rescue in the great financial crisis, had given abundant notice of his intention to retire by the end of June.

Favourites to step up included William Chalmers, chief financial officer, who Horta-Osório recruited from Morgan Stanley at the start of 2019, and Vim Maru, head of retail banking, which dominates Lloyds.

Rigorous process

The bank claims that Budenberg, Blackwell and Alan Dickinson, deputy chairman and senior independent director, led a rigorous selection process for the new CEO.

They were certainly keen to get their man.

Nunn’s total annual pay may be 20% lower than Horta-Osório commanded, but he will be granted deferred cash and share awards to replace, like for like, unvested HSBC awards forfeited as a result of him joining Lloyds.

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