Lloyds bank says ill chief executive making 'good progress'

21st November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group said on Monday that its chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio was making "good progress" from an illness which has forced him temporarily to stand down.

Despite the news, LBG said its non-executive director David Roberts would take over as interim chief executive should Horta-Osorio -- said to be suffering from fatigue -- not return as expected by the end of the year.

LBG's chief financial officer Tim Tookey is presently the bank's interim chief executive but is due to leave the organisation early next year.

Horta-Osorio, 47, became chief executive in March and has since announced a massive cost-cutting drive.

"Following the announcement of 2 November 2011 stating that the group CEO, Antonio Horta-Osorio, had taken a short leave of absence on medical advice, the Lloyds Banking Group board is pleased to note that Antonio is continuing to make good progress in his recovery," a company statement said on Monday.

"As part of its contingency plans the board has agreed that David Roberts, a non-executive director since 2010 ... will assume the position of interim group chief executive in the event that Antonio's return were delayed."

LBG added in the statement that a key executive from fellow bailed-out lender, Royal Bank of Scotland, would not now be joining the group.

Nathan Bostock, currently head of restructuring and risk at RBS, would instead remain with the Edinburgh-based bank, Lloyds said.

Lloyds Banking Group is 41-percent owned by the British government after a huge bailout at the height of the global financial crisis.

Horta-Osorio, meanwhile, is planning annual cost savings of £1.5 billion by scrapping 15,000 jobs, or 14 percent of the bank's staff.

LBG has slashed more than 40,000 posts since 2009 as it looks to nurse its way back to health after its part-nationalisation.

The lender, which was sunk by the ill-fated 2008 takeover of rival bank HBOS, is also seeking to cut its international presence to just 15 countries by 2014.

Horta-Osorio was formerly head of Santander UK, the British wing of the Spanish bank. The Portuguese national's predecessor Eric Daniels left amid shareholder anger after he oversaw the government-brokered takeover of HBOS.

© 2011 AFP

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