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.
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.