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RBS & Lloyds asset sales to take ‘longer than expected’

Sir David Cooksey, chairman of UK Financial Investments, the body set up to manage the taxpayers’ investments in nationalised banking groups, has confirmed that disposing of the public stakes in Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland will take “longer than expected”.

Sir David announced his retirement today (11 January), with Robin Budenberg set to take over as chairman of UKFI and Jim O’Neil, currently responsible for UKFI’s investments in Lloyds and RBS, becoming chief executive.

Sir David attributed the delay in disposing the assets to the “challenging economic and banking industry environments both in the UK and globally”.

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On his retirement, he said: “Now is the right time for me to hand over the reins. The last two and a half years have been extremely challenging for UKFI and for the banks in which it has investments.

“UKFI now has strong working relationships with its stakeholders and has successfully achieved the restructuring of the wholly-owned portfolio.”

Mr O’Neil will assume the role of chief executive on 2 April 2012 and Mr Budenberg will act as executive chairman until that point.

As announced in December, Keith Morgan will be leaving UKFI during the first half of 2012 following the restructuring of the wholly-owned portfolio and the return of Northern Rock to the private sector and will continue to report to Mr Budenberg until then.

Both Mr Budenberg and Mr Morgan will join the UKFI Board.

Mr Budenberg said: “I would like to thank David for his strong leadership and sage advice through some difficult issues. I look forward to continuing to play an active role in supporting Jim in his new position.”

Mr O’Neil added: “I am honoured to have been asked to lead the excellent team here at UKFI and will continue UKFI’s role as an active and engaged steward of the government’s investments in Lloyds, RBS and UK Asset Resolution in the best interests of taxpayers.”