ADRIAN Grace, the boss of life and pensions firm Aegon UK, has joined the board of Clydesdale Bank, which this week announced the resignation of its chief executive as it prepares for a possible flotation.
Clydesdale chairman Jim Pettigrew said Grace’s appointment as a non-executive director would “further strengthen” the board of the lender, which also owns Yorkshire Bank, as it is expected to be floated off by parent group National Australia Bank (NAB) later this year.
Pettigrew added: “He has a first-class track record with outstanding business knowledge and experience which make him a great fit as we continue to build a better bank for our customers.”
NAB’s profits were hit last year after the amount set aside to cover mis-sold payment protection insurance at Clydesdale and Yorkshire leapt to £420 million. The Australian group has admitted that exiting the UK is now an “absolute priority”.
Grace served as Aegon UK’s chief operating officer before succeeding Otto Thoresen as the Edinburgh-based firm’s chief executive in 2011. He was previously managing director of small business banking at Lloyds TSB.
On Tuesday, Pettigrew paid tribute to Clydesdale chief executive David Thorburn, who is standing down after almost four years in the role.
“As a result of David’s efforts, the UK banking business is in much better shape, with the 2014 results showing improvement in a number of areas including asset quality and a lower-risk loan book,” he said.
Thorburn, on a basic salary of £450,000 last year, has agreed to stay on to smooth the transition to new leadership, and his successor is expected to be named within the next few months.
Andrew Thorburn, NAB’s group chief executive and no relation to the outgoing Clydesdale boss, said: “Since our announcement… that we intend to examine a broader range of options to accelerate the exit from our UK banking business, David and I have been having ongoing discussions about the future. David’s decisions is understandable given what is now required.”
SUBSCRIBE TO THE SCOTSMAN’S BUSINESS BRIEFING