TORY peer Lord Blackwell is set to be named as the next chairman of partly taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group within days, it is understood.
The former head of Sir John Major’s policy unit, Blackwell already has a seat on the Lloyds board and is chairman of the bank’s Edinburgh-based Scottish Widows insurance subsidiary.
He was previously a director of Scottish insurance and pensions giant Standard Life and retailer Dixons, as well as once being a partner at McKinsey, the management consultancy.
Blackwell will take over as Lloyds’ chairman from Sir Win Bischoff, who said that he wants to retire next year from the bank, in which the UK government has a 33 per cent holding.
One City banking analyst said: “Blackwell has the financial credentials for the job, and the appointment of someone from within to be the new chair also makes it a smooth process to present to Lloyds’s institutional investors.”
The handover with Bischoff, 72, is likely to happen early next year, possibly ahead of Lloyds’ full-year results presentation in late February and the subsequent annual general meeting.
Blackwell, 61, has been on the bank’s board since June 2012. For the past eight years he has chaired the board of Interserve, the support services and construction group.
The search for a new chairman has been led by the senior independent director at the bank, Tony Watson, who has looked externally and internally.
Commenting on Blackwell’s “imminent” appointment, Lord Saatchi, chairman of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: “I am delighted about this appointment. “I have no doubt that Norman will be a brilliant leader who will both revive this once-great bank and vigorously defend the public interest.”
The UK government, which recently sold 6 per cent of its stake in Lloyds, is expected to completely sell its stake before the 2015 general election.
• Lloyds has confirmed it has sold two of its European commercial property loan portfolios to private equity group Cerberus for €1.032bn (£860m).