Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio Announces Surprise Resignation

Lloyds Banking Group Plc have announced that their CEO, Antonio Horta-Osorio announced his resignation after a decade at the helm of the British bank.

As part of what is becoming a surprise leadership overhaul at the bank, a statement released Monday also suggested that former investment banker Robin Budenberg will be put in place as the lenders new chairman.  If this happens, Budenberg will replace Norman Blackwell, who had discussed leaving the bank this year.

Sthe surprise departure of Horta-Osorio scheduled for the end of June next year, poses more problems for Britain’s biggest mortgage lender as it wrestles with the economic recovery from Coronavirus pandemic and potentially one of the deepest recessions in centuries. The 56-year-old from Portugal, was seen by many as a steady hand at Lloyds, steering the Bank to profitability and full private ownership following a bailout during the financial crisis.  Although his pay may sometimes have caused some negative column inches and discussions, the 56 year old will leave with a stellar reputation in the banking community.

In announcing the departure a year in advance, Lloyds will hope that this will leave plenty of time for the board to secure an experienced successor and ensure a smooth transition.  The annoncement touched upon the fact that the banking giant will be considering internal and external candidates as they begin their search for a new chief executive in the near future.

During his tenure, Horta-Osorio cut thousands of jobs and managed a long-running and costly response to a scandal where British banks mis-sold insurance to consumers. He also pushed into wealth management and insurance as a way to diversify a revenue stream heavily dependent on the British economy and mortgage borrowers.

Lloyds booked a provision of 1.4 billion pounds ($1.75 billion) for soured loans in the first quarter as the coronavirus lockdown crushed economic growth and caused the bank to scrap previous targets. Its shares have also suffered as the Bank of England pushed lenders to scrap their dividends amid the pandemic.

Lloyds have been due to announce their new strategic plan early next year, as their current one directed by outgoing CEO Horta-Osorio, which involved heavy investment in technology and cost-reductions comes to an end. It is unclear whether this will change their plans.

Although Horta-Osorio has suffered a few setbacks during his decade long stint at the bank, most notable when Lloyds cut his pay by 28% to 4.73 million pounds for last year and his handling of a recent whistleblower report into a fraud case, Lloyds will be disappointed to lose a chief executive who has broadly delivered excellent results throughout what has been a tumultuous time in the economic sector.

Lloyds shares rose about 2% in London trading, one of the smallest gains in a broad rally by the Whether by Horat-Osorio or the new CEO, Lloyds have some ground to make up, currently sitting 49% down this year, which ranks as the worst performance among Britain’s five major banks.

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