Co-op tried to persuade bank deputy Bulmer to stay

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Rod Bulmer, the deputy chief executive of embattled Co-operative Bank, is to stand down next year, despite efforts to persuade him to remain with the lender.

The mutual also said that chief executive Niall Booker is to step aside from his duties as deputy boss of its parent, the Co-operative Group, after it set up a board committee to consider “third-party approaches” in relation to its plans to plug a £1.5 billion black hole in its balance sheet.

Earlier this week, a powerful group of investors urged the bank to convert more of its debt into shares, which could see majority ownership handed to its bondholders.

A spokesman said Bulmer, who has been with the Co-op for six years, was a “valued member of the business” but had decided to embark on a “new direction in his career”.

He added: “The business wanted Rod to stay as he’s been a key driver of the retail business, in particular its customer service.”

Co-op Bank, which last month admitted it would take several years to return to profit after slumping to a loss of £709.4 million in the first half of the year, is putting the finishing touches to plans that will see bondholders take heavy losses.

This move will generate about £1bn in capital, while a further £500m will be raised by selling its insurance businesses.

Bulmer, a former Santander UK executive, stepped up to the role of Co-op Bank’s acting chief in May when previous boss Barry Tootell resigned following a credit rating downgrade and the collapse of a £750m bid for 632 Lloyds branches.

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