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Lloyds 10 years on: António Horta-Osório makes his exit

António Horta-Osório makes no apology for the unbridled optimism that has defined his 10 years running Lloyds Banking Group. Critics say he leaves it over-exposed to Brexit and dwindling interest margins. But, as he prepares to move to Switzerland to become chairman of Credit Suisse, Horta-Osório tells Euromoney that Lloyds’ greatest days could still be ahead of it.

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At the end of April, António Horta-Osório will be leaving a bank – and a country – that he has made his own.

A decade ago, when he left Spain’s Banco Santander to become chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, he arrived at a bailed-out muddle of an institution that was full of toxic assets and dangerously reliant on short-term wholesale funding. During the 2010s Horta-Osório turned Lloyds into a fully private-sector lender with coherence and confidence about its future.

He applied for British citizenship in 2015, 10 years after arriving in London to run Santander’s UK arm. A Portuguese native, Horta-Osório’s English is now full of the sort of colloquialisms that he could only have learnt from working so long at a UK retail and commercial bank.

He has celebrated and accentuated the bank’s national identity, selling or shutting down all but six of Lloyds’ old 30 international operations.


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Dominic O’Neill is EMEA editor. He joined Euromoney in 2007 to cover emerging markets, focusing on central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and later on Latin America. Based in London, he has covered developed market banking since 2015.
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