Co-Operative Bank CEO Andrew Bester resigns, succession search begins
LONDON (Reuters) – Andrew Bester, chief executive of the Co-Operative Bank 42TE.Lis stepping down after just over two years at the helm, the British lender announced on Tuesday.
Chairman Bob Dench has begun the process to find Bester’s successor, the bank said.
Bester – who joined the bank in July 2018 – has pledged to remain in place until this process is complete to ensure a smooth and orderly transition. The actual date of his departure will be confirmed in due course.
In August, the bank announced it would cut around 350 jobs and close 18 branches as the coronavirus crisis forced it to cut costs.
The Co-Operative Bank is one of many UK challenger lenders trying to challenge the dominance of the big four banks, including Lloyds Banking Group. LLOY.LHSBC HSBA.LNatWest Group NWG.L and Barclays BARC.L.
But like others, he has seen his progress hampered by low interest rates, searing mortgage competition and erratic demand for consumer loans as the UK economy reels from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.
It now joins its biggest rival Lloyds in the search for a new leader after its CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio said earlier this year he would leave the bank once a successor was found.
Bester’s achievements during his short tenure include a transformation of the bank’s IT systems and its separation from the Co-Op group as well as improvements in customer satisfaction levels, the bank said.
“My ambition was to complete the major transformational phase of the turnaround and for our franchise to demonstrate resilience,” Bester said in the statement.
“At this point, I believe the bank is on the right path and it’s time for a new CEO to continue his journey to become the digital ethical bank.”
Reporting by Sinead Cruise, editing by Pamela Barbaglia