Integration guru Paul Pester to oversee Lloyds sell-off

LLOYDS Banking Group has appointed a top integration manager to lead the sale of assets that will create a new bank with five million customers.

Paul Pester becomes chief executive of "Project Verde" which will oversee the disposal of more than 600 branches into what will become the seventh-largest bank in the UK.

The sale, ordered by the European Union as a condition for accepting a UK government bail-out, will bring together the Cheltenham & Gloucester business, Intelligent Finance, 185 Lloyds TSB Scotland branches and another 250 in the Lloyds TSB network in England and Wales.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Pester led the team that created Virgin Money, now headquartered in Edinburgh, and as managing director of Santander UK he pulled together Bradford & Bingley with the Abbey and Alliance & Leicester businesses.

He will report to Alison Brittain, when she joins the group as head of Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB branch networks, in September. Pester is taking on this role in addition to his responsibilities as managing director, consumer banking and payments. The former Oxford physicist and ex-McKinsey management consultant is a non-executive director at Visa and at MicroFocus International, the FTSE 250 software business.

The Verde business will have a 4.6 per cent share of the UK personal current account market and up to 19 per cent of the group's mortgage assets. It is due to be sold by November 2013. Until then, banking services for Lloyds' customers, including account numbers and sort codes will remain unchanged. Lloyds says that branches will operate as they do currently and no difference will be seen between those being divested and those staying with the group.

Antnio Horta-Osrio, group chief executive, said of Pester and his team: "They will bring significant retail and commercial banking experience to create what will be a well-capitalised bank and a strong competitor to the other UK banks and building societies."

Pester said: "I am delighted to be in the position of shaping and growing a new business which will serve over five million customers and service over eight million accounts."

In another senior appointment, Lloyds has poached Toby Strauss, Aviva UK's life and pensions chief executive, to head up the group's insurance business which includes Scottish Widows.

Strauss will replace Phil Loney, the head of life and pensions, who is leaving Lloyds after the summer to become chief executive of rival Royal London, owner of Scottish Life.

The bank has also promoted Rosie Harris, currently divisional risk officer, insurance, to be managing director, general insurance. She effectively replaces Andy Briggs, another high profile departure from Lloyds Banking Group who will take the top job at insurer, Friends Provident.Strauss will report to Horta-Osrio and will be a member of the group executive committee, while Harris reports to Strauss.