Co-operative Bank names new chairman
The Co-operative Bank has confirmed the appointment of Dennis Holt as its new chairman on a permanent basis.
Mr Holt, who joined the board of the bank in February, became interim chairman on October 1st and has now been picked to take the job on full time.
His role will be to lead a recovery of the bank after one of the most turbulent periods in its history, when the institution came close to collapsing and former chairman Paul Flowers was arrested on drug allegations. The difficulties were so deep that the Co-operative Group had to sell its majority stake in the bank, which lost over 38,000 customers last year and had to shed staff amid dozens of branch closures.
The bank’s malaise emerged after its failure to buy 632 branches from Lloyds, a transaction that had been due to establish it as a leading ‘Challenger bank’ to offer consumers more alternatives to the Big Four.
Such aims now appear very distant, but chief executive Niall Booker said the appointment of Mr Holt could go a long way towards restoring the bank’s fortunes and then moving it forward.
He remarked: “I am delighted that Dennis Holt has been appointed to chair the board of the bank.
“His involvement in a wide range of challenging market environments will serve the bank well as we continue to restore trust in our brand and focus on building a credible, efficient and differentiated alternative for customers.”
The Co-operative Bank may be an outstanding example of the importance of making the right appointments in the area of corporate governance.
A recent Treasury Committee report criticised the bank, as well as auditor KPMG and the financial regulator for not spotting the problems sooner, but it also said the bank’s governance structure was “not fit for purpose”.
In particular Mr Flowers, a former Methodist minister, had almost no experience of banking in any capacity, least of all at executive level.
The appointment is the second one made at senior level in the bank this month, following the announcement of John Baines as new finance director.
Mr Baines has worked in the industry for 25 years.
Corporate governance recruitment at Barclay Simpson