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OPINION

Abigail with attitude: Horta-Osório’s road to success a queasy journey for shareholders

The 2013 Euromoney Awards for excellence dinner, held in early July, was a glittering affair. Finally, it seems, the tide might have turned in the financial industry. The room was thronged and financiers had travelled from Africa, Albania and even supposedly impoverished Greece to attend the event. The guest speaker was the former UK Member of Parliament Gyles Brandreth, who was both entertaining and enthusiastic. Guests raised over £780,000 ($1.2 million) for the nominated charity, Action against Cancer, which is researching a new treatment for the disease.

The big global awards of the night went to Wells Fargo as best bank and Goldman Sachs as best investment bank.

António Horta-Osório, the chief executive of Lloyds, was Euromoney’s banker of the year.

Lloyds Banking Group is an interesting story. The old Lloyds Bank was a jewel in the crown. Under its former chief executive (and latterly chairman), Sir Brian Pitman, the bank was unassailable. Pitman’s achievement was to focus consistently on shareholder value and eschew the fashion of the day for investment banking and foreign adventures. Pitman ran Lloyds from 1983 to 2001 and made the institution the undisputed king of UK high-street banking.

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