Lloyds Bank’s retail, insurance bosses to leave

Lloyds Bank’s retail, insurance bosses to leave

London: Bailed-out British lender Lloyds Banking Group said its insurance and retail heads are to step down, marking an early management shake-up by newly-appointed chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

Helen Weir, Lloyds’ retail director, has decided to leave and Archie Kane, its director for insurance, is planning to retire, Britain’s biggest retail bank said in a statement on Wednesday, confirming reports late on Tuesday.

The departures come days after Horta-Osorio, formerly head of Spanish bank Santander’s British arm, took over as chief executive of Lloyd’s on 1 March, replacing Eric Daniels.

“It’s the new chief executive stamping his authority on the reporting lines. Beyond that I’m not sure that there’s too much change," said Simon Willis, banks analyst at stockbroker Daniel Stewart & Co.

Lloyds’ insurance division, which includes leading life and pensions group Scottish Widows, will in future report directly to Horta-Osorio.

There has long been speculation that Lloyds may sell some of its insurance assets as it seeks to bolster its balance sheet, although analysts say a lack of ready buyers currently makes major insurance disposals unlikely.

Lloyds could clarify its intentions on asset sales when it unveils the results at the end of June of a strategic review launched by Horta-Osorio.

Lloyds is 41% owned by the British government after being bailed out during the credit crisis when it was saddled with billions of pounds of losses after the takeover of troubled rival HBOS in 2008.

Shares in the bank were up 0.4% at 61.8 pence by 0819 GMT, when the FTSE 100 share index was 0.2% lower and the Stoxx 600 Europe banking sector index was up 0.1%.