Lloyds bank says chief executive takes leave due to illness

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Britain's state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group announced on Wednesday that its chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio, is taking leave due to illness following medical advice.

Horta-Osorio, 47, who became chief executive in March, is understood to be suffering from fatigue, according to sources.

"The board of Lloyds Banking Group announces that following medical advice Antonio Horta-Osorio is taking a temporary leave of absence from his duties as group chief executive of the bank due to illness," LBG said in a statement.

"Antonio is expected to return to his position before the end of the year," it added.

The lender, which is 40.2 percent state-owned after a huge bailout at the height of the global financial crisis, said the board would meet later this morning to agree interim arrangements that will be announced in due course.

Horta-Osorio was formerly head of Santander UK, the British wing of the Spanish banking group.

The Portuguese national had unveiled in June plans to save the bank £1.5 billion a year, aided by the scrapping of 15,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its 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's predecessor Eric Daniels left amid shareholder anger after he oversaw the government-brokered takeover of HBOS.

© 2011 AFP

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