Tesco Bank boss Benny Higgins to retire after cyber attack

Benny Higgins is to step down as chief executive of Tesco Bank, just months after the lender fell victim to a cyber attack that affected thousands of customers.

Benny Higgins is to retire after ten years in charge of Tesco Bank. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The Edinburgh-based bank said that Higgins will retire in February after ten years as its boss.

Higgins joined Tesco Bank in 2008 after the supermarket giant bought out Royal Bank of Scotland’s 50 per cent stake in what was a joint venture between the two firms.

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“I am very proud of what we have achieved together and it has been a privilege to work in Tesco Bank and across Tesco for what will have been ten years,” he said.

However, his tenure has not been without controversy. Last year it was reported that he had billed Tesco Bank £18,000 in taxi expenses during an eight-month period. The chief executive, who was paid £2.1 million last year, was ferried to the Royal Opera House, private members’ clubs and several plush London restaurants.

In November, Tesco Bank paid out an estimated £2.5m to 9,000 customers after it fell victim to a cyber attack.

The bank temporarily froze online transactions as part of emergency security measures, and was forced to block some customers’ cards after “suspicious activity” was detected in its fraud prevention system.

During his tenure, Higgins has overseen an increase in customer account numbers from 5.8 million to 8 million, seen customer deposits rise from £5.2 billion to £8.5bn and employee numbers jump from 200 to 4,000 at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.

Tesco group chief executive Dave Lewis said: “Benny has steered Tesco Bank to the strong position it is in today.

“The strong growth in customers, deposits and lending is down to his leadership. It has been a pleasure having him on the leadership team, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”