Co-Operative Bank CEO Resigns, Prompting Leadership Search

The departure of Andrew Bester after two years has sparked a search for the bank’s sixth chief executive in under a decade.

Andrew Bester will step down from his position as chief executive of The Co-Operative Bank, the company announced today.

Bester’s abrupt departure leaves the bank’s chairman, Bob Dench, in search of its sixth head in under a decade. Bester will also step down from his position on the board of The Co-Operative Bank Finance Plc.

“My ambition was to complete the major transformation phase of the turnaround and for our franchise to show resilience,” Bester said in a statement.

“At this point, I believe the Bank is on the right path and it is time for a new CEO to continue the journey to be the digital ethical bank. In the meantime I remain focused on working with colleagues to provide the support our customers need.”

Bester has committed to remaining in his position until a replacement can be found to ensure a smooth and orderly leadership transition.

Appointed in 2018, Bester oversaw a transformation project with the bank based around its separation from The Co-Op Group, which had sold the remainder of its stake in the bank a year prior. He is credited with running a successful digitalisation programme for the bank and separating its IT systems from The Co-Op Group, as well as reenergising the company’s brand.

“I would like to thank Andrew for his dedicated leadership since taking up the position of chief executive officer,” said chairman Bob Dench in a statement. “We appointed Andrew for his significant expertise in delivering major transformation programmes and he has ensured that we have successfully completed the ‘fixing the basics’ phase of our turnaround. The progress made provides the foundations for the bank to grow and to build a successful future.”

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