Co-op Bank appoints diversity champion as chief executive

Co-op Bank appoints diversity champion as chief executive

The Co-operative Bank has appointed inclusion and diversity champion Andrew Bester as its chief executive officer.

He will take over from Liam Coleman, who previously announced he was stepping down.

Mr Bester, who joined the bank and its board today (Monday), was previously group director and chief executive of the commercial banking division of Lloyds Banking Group.

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There he led the turnaround and transformation of the commercial and wholesale banking business over five years from 2012.

He also led on inclusion and diversity at Lloyds Banking Group for which he has won several awards.

He said:  “I am excited to be asked to lead The Co-operative Bank at this important time.

“The bank is a well-respected brand, with a long and rich history. It is much valued by its customers and colleagues, and continues to lead the way with its commitment to ethical, environmental and community matters."

He added: "Over its recent history, the bank has been through a period of great change and uncertainty and I look forward to working with the teams to return the business to its former strength.”

Mr Bester began his career at PwC where he worked as a qualified chartered accountant before spending three years at Deloitte.

He then joined Standard Chartered Bank in 2004, where he held senior leadership roles in wholesale banking in Africa and Asia.

In 2008 he took on the role of chief financial officer for Standard Chartered’s consumer banking division, and in 2011 he was appointed chief operating officer for consumer banking.

Commenting on the appointment, Bob Dench, chairman of Co-op Bank said: “Andrew’s understanding of the role business plays in the community and its potential to make a positive difference, and his achievements in leading inclusion and diversity, also make him an ideal choice as chief executive officer of The Co-operative Bank.

"I look forward to working with him as we take forward our strategy.”

Lena Patel, chartered financial planner at Leister-based ISJ Independent Financial Planning, said: “The appointment can only be seen as a positive addition to the Co-op.

"Encouraging more inclusion and diversity into the financial services profession is crucial, therefore I feel anyone who has a proven track record in championing gender diversity be a benefit to the role.”