Where are they now: What became of the 18 Royal Bank of Scotland directors who oversaw its demise?

Share this article
0
Have your say

THE near-collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland brought shame on those who were in charge at the time and who had to accept taxpayer support to save it from an ignominious demise.

A report by the City regulator, the Financial Services Authority, is published tomorrow and is expected to say that no further enforcement action will be taken against any of the 18 directors who oversaw this spectacular fall from grace.

Sir Fred Goodwin, who as chief executive built the bank into one of the biggest in the world before the mistakes that led to its downfall, has been the public face of those failings, but he was surrounded by an experienced team of high achievers who were unable to stop the rot.

As the bank has fought for rehabilitation, some have struggled to restore their own reputations. But where are they now?

Executive directors

• Lawrence Fish, chairman, RBS America and Citizens Financial Group

American national Fish began his banking career with First National Bank of Boston in 1972, and was chief executive of Rhode Island’s Citizens Bank when RBS took it over in 1988. He spent the next two decades at the centre of RBS’s expanding US operations. He joined the main group board in January 1993, and subsequently became the highest-paid director at RBS. His rise to prominence was aided by his eye for a deal, which allowed Citizens to reach the rank of eighth-largest retail bank in the US by 2006. He had ceded day-to-day control of Citizens by March 2007, becoming chairman of US operations for RBS. He ceased to be a director on 31 December 2008. Larry Fish is currently lead director at Fortune 500 conglomerate Textron. The 66-year-old became chairman of education group Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in August 2010, and is also a director of the holding company of jeweller Tiffany & Co.

Remuneration: 2007: £1.25m in salary, bonuses and benefits (RBS). 2008: £364,000 in salary and benefits (RBS). Current: Unknown, but left RBS with a £19.5m lump sum pension

Gordon Pell, chief executive of retail markets

Pell joined NatWest as part of the bank’s unsuccessful attempt to fend off hostile takeover bids from RBS and Bank of Scotland. He arrived at NatWest in January 2000 from Lloyds TSB, where he was chief executive of UK banking. Like Mark Fisher, he was absorbed from NatWest into the RBS team, where he took over the equivalent of his previous role as head of retail banking. Among other initiatives, Pell led an aggressive push into UK mortgages, though the group’s share never matched that of market leader HBOS. Billed as “the last of Goodwin’s gang” to leave, Pell ascended to group deputy chief executive in February 2009, but retired on 31 March 2010 with an annual pension of £580,000. Weeks later, he took up the post of deputy chairman at Coutts & Co, the private banking arm of RBS whose clients include the royal family. RBS officials emphasised at the time the Pell would receive no bonus or pension in connection with the Coutts post. Sources also suggested he intended to donate his salary to charity.

Remuneration: 2007: £2.2m in salary, bonuses and benefits (RBS). 2008: £909,000 in salary and benefits (RBS). 2009: £933,000 in salary and benefits. 2010: £234,000 in salary and benefits. Current: Not disclosed, but estimated at between £30,000 and £40,000.

Guy Whittaker, finance director

The English-born Whittaker, 55, was hired by Sir Fred as finance director partly in order to combat criticism about the dominant Scottish make-up of the board. Whittaker had spent 25 years with Citigroup largely in the US.

The Cambridge-educated Whittaker announced his intention to leave RBS on 5 May 2009, three days before it released its interim results revealing losses of £857m after tax for the first quarter of 2009. His role as finance director is understood to be critical to the FSA’s research into the bank’s approach to risk ahead of its collapse as well as what he knew ahead of the bank’s £12bn rights issue. Since his departure he has not appeared publicly or taken on any executive roles pending the outcome of the FSA investigation, save for his involvement in his alma mater’s 800th anniversary fundraising campaign in 2009.

Remuneration: 2007: £2.45m down from £4.5m in 2006. 2009: £638,000 having ceased to become a director 30 September. Current: Unknown.

Johnny Cameron, chief executive corporate markets

The only RBS executive board director to have been censured by the FSA with a partial ban on jobs in the financial services industry, Cameron, 58, is understood to have taken up involvement in the running of his family’s 130,000 acre estate around Fort William. The estate of Clan Cameron, thought to be the largest landholding in Britain owned by commoners, is anchored by the family seat, Achnacarry, at Spean Bridge, Inverness-shire and includes Ben Nevis. Family lore holds that the Camerons will keep their land as long as there is snow on the highest mountain in the British Isles. His father, Donald Hamish Cameron, the 26th “Lochiel” – the historic title of the head of the clan – died in 2004, passing the title to Cameron’s elder brother, Donald Angus Cameron. The FSA report on Monday is thought to focus on Cameron’s role in the bank’s GBM unit which was the major source of the bank’s collapse.

Remuneration: 2007: £3.3m down from £3.5m in 2006. 2008: £1.2m having ceased to become a director in October 2008, but he continued working for the bank until the end of February 2009. Current: Cameron claims £62,000 from his RBS final salary pension which accrued £1.4m on his departure. Other remuneration is unknown.

Mark Fisher, chairman, managing board of ABN Amro

A career banker who started in the profession with National Westminster Bank in 1981, Fisher joined RBS when it took over NatWest in 2000. He was immediately appointed chief executive of manufacturing, with various responsibilities including the integration of RBS and NatWest systems platforms. He became known as “the Integrator” for his success on this front, and was put in charge of the managing board of ABN Amro when it was taken over in 2007. Following the forced marriage of Lloyds and HBOS in 2008, Mark Fisher was poached from RBS to become director of group IT and operations at Lloyds Banking Group. He stepped down as a director at RBS in November 2008, and officially left the group in March 2009. Fisher is currently being touted as a “safe pair of hands” to step up if chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio is unable to return to his duties at state-controlled Lloyds.

Remuneration: 2007: £2.36m in salary, bonuses and benefits (RBS). 2008: £1.39m in salary and benefits (RBS). Current: Unknown

Non-executive directors

Sir Tom McKillop, chairman

Without any qualifications in banking, McKillop was appointed deputy chairman of RBS in September 2005 on the strength of his previous executive leadership at pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. He also joined with board-level experience at companies such as BP and Lloyds TSB. The Ayrshire-born chemist became chairman of RBS in 2006, holding that role through the height of the bank’s aggressive expansion and enthusiastic lending in support of leveraged buyouts. In the aftermath of the collapse, Sir Tom was forced into an early resignation and he left RBS in February 2009. Amid the public backlash, he decided two months later not to stand for re-election at BP’s annual meeting. Sir Tom returned to pharmaceuticals in November 2009 with his appointment to the board of UCB. He retired as president of The Science Council in June of this year but is listed as a non-executive at Spanish pharma company Almirall Prodesfarma.

Remuneration: 2007: £750,000 (RBS). 2008: £787,000 (RBS). 2009: £72,000 (RBS). Current: £54,000 (UCB)

Bob Scott, senior independent non-executive

As RBS’s senior non-exec and chair of the remuneration committee, Scott was required to defend the bank’s generous executive pay deals even before the group’s spectacular financial crash. An Australian with four decades of experience across the UK financial industry, Scott joined the RBS board in January 2001 as a former chief executive of CGNU, the insurance company now known as Aviva. He was yet another who left in the boardroom clear-out of February 2009. He stood down as chairman of directories group Yell in July 2009 after shareholders threatened to oust him at the annual meeting. Separately, he retired as senior independent director of Jardine Lloyd Thompson at the end of 2008. He continues as a director at Pension Corporation and is a non-executive at Swiss Re. He is also listed as an operating partner with private equity group Duke Street.

Remuneration: 2007: £160,000 as senior independent director (RBS). 2008: £174,000 as senior independent director (RBS). 2009: £18,000 as senior independent director (RBS). Left as of 6 February 2009 in a boardroom clear-out. Current: Unknown

Sir Steve Robson

Ignominy has not withered the post-RBS career of Sir Steve, 68, who became known as Britain’s “Mr Privatisation” for his role developing PPP and privatising railways before he retired from his role as a Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury in 2001. He retains a highly paid sinecure as a NED at mining giant Xstrata – the same firm that was mobbed by Occupy LSE members a few weeks ago to protest the £9m remuneration pot of its chief executive and chairman Mick Davis, the FTSE100’s highest paid director. Despite an outcry, Robson retains his role as a director of the Financial Reporting Council – which includes membership of its corporate governance committee. The FRC is the UK regulator responsible for promoting confidence in financial reporting. He also remained as a director of JM Cazenove until January 2010.

Remuneration: 2007: £100,000. 2009: £11,000, having retired as a director 6 February. Current: Xstrata at £195,000, FRC £20,000

Peter Sutherland

A former attorney general of Ireland and former EC commissioner in charge of competition, 65-year-old Sutherland was appointed to the board in January 2001 by then deputy chairman Sir George Mathewson after the Goldman Sachs International chairman had advised the bank on the takeover of NatWest.

Sutherland was appointed as chairman of the London School of Economics in January 2008, but resigned from his chairmanship of BP in December 2009, months before the Gulf of Mexico disaster which killed 11 workers. He remains chairman of Goldman Sachs international, which was fined £17.5m by the FSA in December 2010 for breaching FSA regulatory reporting obligations. His biography does not mention RBS.

Remuneration: 2007: £97,000. 2009: £11,000 joined the February director exodus. Current: His salary at Goldman Sachs International is not published but he would have shared a total pay pot of $30m among nine fellow directors. He receives no remuneration for his role as chairman of LSE’s Court of Governors.

Charles Koch, non-executive director

Another representative from across the Atlantic, Koch was chairman and chief executive of Charter One Financial before it was acquired by Citizens Financial in late 2004. Appointed to the main RBS board in September of that year, Koch limited his duties to the main board and did not serve on any committees. He left along with six others in the February 2009 clear-out. Now aged 64, Koch continues as a director with Citizens Financial Group. He is also a director with Assurant and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, ad become an independent director of real estate investment trust Home Properties Inc in March 2010.

Remuneration: 2007: £70,000 in board fees (RBS). 2008: £73,000 in board fees (RBS). 2009: £8,000 in board fees (RBS). Current: Unknown

James Currie, independent non-executive

Appointed to the board in November 2001, Currie joined RBS from the realm of civil servants. A former director general at the European Commission, Currie left the bank in the February 2009 boardroom clear-out led by Sir Philip Hampton, who took over as RBS chairman from Sir Tom McKillop.

Remuneration: 2007: £85,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). 2008: £89,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). 2009: £10,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). Current: Unknown

Janis Kong

The 60-year-old former chairman of Heathrow Airport and Heathrow Express was appointed to the bank’s board by Sir Fred in 2006. She maintains a portfolio non-executive career. She was appointed a NED at Network Rail on 2010 and was re-appointed to the board of VisitBritan in the same year. She holds a position on the board of glass and ceramics firm, Portmeirion and Kingfisher, the owner of DIY firm B&Q. The profile of the Harvard and Edinburgh University graduate on Linkedin does not make reference to her role as a NED on RBS board.

Remuneration: 2007: £85,000. 2009: £10,000 and ceased to be on the board as of 6 February. Current: £55,000 from Kingfisher 2010/11; £50,000 from Network Rail 2010/11; £26,000 from Portmeirion (2010); £9,435 for VisitBritain.

Archie Hunter

The 68-year-old former KPMG CA was appointed to the board in 2004. A chairman of the important remuneration committee, he was one of three directors to be asked to stay on by new RBS chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, along with fellow audit committee members Colin Buchan and Joe MacHale.

Remuneration: 2007: Paid £162,000 in board and committee fees. 2009: Paid £166,000 in board and committee fees in 2009 and £55,000 in 2010 having retired on 28 April 2010. Current: £61,000 from Macfarlane Group, £13,500 as director of Edinburgh US Tracker Trust

Joe MacHale, independent director

The former senior independent director was replaced by Sir Sandie Crombie in this role, but MacHale, 60, remains the sole non-executive on the board from before the crisis. He is chairman of London-based Prytania, a risk advisory and asset management firm specialising in structured finance and credit.

Remuneration: 2007: Paid £100,000 in board and committee fees, and £106,000 in 2008. 2009: Paid £111,000 in board and committee fees. Current: Estimated £109,000 as a director of Prytania Group. Payment as trustee of Macmillan Cancer Support n/a

Colin Buchan ,independent non-executive

Educated in South Africa, Buchan spent the early part of his career in South Africa and the Far East. A former head of equities at UBS Warburg, he was appointed to the RBS board in June 2002 and subsequently re-appointed in April 2008. He served on various committees including the remuneration committee that was controversially in change of approving Sir Fred’s departing financial package. Following the February 2009 clear-out that saw the departure of remuneration committee chair Bob Scott, Buchan took over as head of that group. It fell to him to subsequently explain the complicated bonus packages devised to retain key employees while at the same time placating investors. He stepped down from remuneration committee in June 2010, and left the group board in July 2011. He continues to serve as a non-executive director of Standard Life, and is also a non-executive director of the £12bn BlackRock World Mining Trust.

Remuneration: 2007: £122,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). 2008: £130,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). 2009: £152,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). 2010: £150,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). Current: Unknown

Bill Friedrich, independent non-executive

Another victim of the Sir Tom’s clean sweep in early 2009, audit committee member Friedrich had previously served as deputy chief executive of BG Group. He is also a former partner with New York-based law firm Shearman & Sterling, but has faded into the background since leaving RBS.

Remuneration: 2007: £100,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). 2008: £106,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). 2009: £12,000 in board and committee fees (RBS). Current: Unknown

Miller McLean, secretary

The former secretary to the board was appointed as far back as August 1994. He left the main board in May 2010, but remains at RBS as chairman of its Edinburgh-based private bank, Adam & Co, having been appointed to this role in September 2009. McLean, 62, remains a trustee of RBS and RBS insurance pensions, and is also chairman of the leadership training association, the Whitehall and Industry Group, which is not a remunerated post.

Remuneration: Salary details not disclosed