Coutts CEO departure marks second high-profile resignation in NatWest Group

Coutts CEO departure marks second high-profile resignation in NatWest Group

In a dramatic fallout following the mishandling of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s bank accounts, Peter Flavel, the CEO of Coutts private bank, has resigned from his post.

The incident, which saw Mr Farage’s accounts being closed, has had repercussions extending to the parent company NatWest, causing the resignation of CEO Alison Rose.

Mr Flavel’s exit came quickly after Ms Rose’s departure, both decisions seeming to be influenced by the government, which is the largest shareholder of NatWest with a 39% stake. The bank, which also includes Coutts, was rescued during the 2008 banking crisis with a £45.5 billion bailout from the government. The swift actions have been interpreted as a response to the controversy surrounding Mr Farage’s “de-banking”, The Guardian reports.

Interim chief executive of NatWest, Paul Thwaite, announced Mr Flavel’s departure, stating that it was by mutual consent and immediate. “In the handling of Mr Farage’s case we have fallen below the bank’s high standards of personal service. As CEO of Coutts it is right that I bear ultimate responsibility”, Mr Flavel admitted in his resignation statement.

Mr Flavel, 63, had joined Coutts in 2016, following a stint as CEO of JP Morgan’s private wealth division and nine years at Standard Chartered. His annual earnings are estimated to be between £1.5 million and £2m, however, the specifics of his severance package remain uncertain pending an independent review into Farage’s account closure by NatWest.

Coutts, which accounts for £30bn of NatWest Group’s total assets compared with £226bn across its retail banking arm, has appointed Mohammad Kamal Syed, currently head of asset management, as interim CEO.

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