The move surprised me. Running UKFI strikes me as a worthy but dull job. And I would have thought that if Leigh-Pemberton was considering leaving Credit Suisse, he could have found a more interesting role. However, a mole reminds me that Leigh-Pemberton was involved in advising on the restructuring of the British banks during the crisis, so brings substantial expertise to his new masters. This year there should be important developments for the two banks. The government will want to further reduce its stake in Lloyds and will want to see progress in RBSs operations. "Look," my mole harrumphed, "Leigh-Pemberton has to do one big thing: get RBS ready for sale. And he will probably get a knighthood for doing this. What is there not to like about this job?"
|Abigail's Christmas wish list includes a pair of cashmere socks for Ana Botín's recent recruit, Nathan Bostock, in case he gets cold feet about joining Santander|
RBSs new chief executive, Ross McEwan, who took over from Stephen Hester last autumn, is now struggling to fill several key posts: Bostocks job of finance director, a head for the bad-bank division and his own full-time replacement as head of the retail bank. Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne must be regretting his decision to let Hester leave the bank. By all accounts, the two men had divergent views on the future direction of RBSs investment bank Hester was a fan; Osborne wasnt interested. But at least Hester was an experienced chief executive. With his departure, the bank resembles a rudderless rabble. I am not optimistic that the government will be able to sell any of its 80% stake before the next election in May 2015.