<b>Victims of their own success</b>
|Headline: Victims of their own success
Date: April 2000
Author: Antony Currie
If any Hollywood producer decides to make a farce about financial markets, he might want to give Chip Kruger and Gary Holloway a call. These two have been pawns in NatWest's soap-opera saga of buying into investment banking, selling out of most of it less than three years later, and then using what was left as a financial punchbag in a desperate attempt to avoid falling prey to a hostile bid from one of two Scottish banks.
They were the co-CEOs of US boutique Greenwich Capital, bought by the UK bank in 1996 as just one of several largely doomed investment-banking investments. After an equity derivatives loss of £90 million in March 1997, NatWest reviewed and dumped its strategy. Kruger was promoted to run the old NatWest Markets, which was broken up and sold off. Only the bank's debt businesses remained. Kruger and Holloway had convinced the board to let them try to resurrect some pride. And profit.
For a year, that entailed bearing the brunt of the criticisms for the previous failures which they had nothing to do with - including a registered loss for the investment-banking division of $1 billion in 1997.