Five things you need to know this week

MT’s round-up of five must-know nuggets from the working week.

by Antonia Garrett Peel

1. NatWest names Rick Haythornthwaite as its next chairman

NatWest Group has named its next chairman, Rick Haythornthwaite, who will be tasked with helping the lender to move on from the Nigel Farage debanking scandal. The city veteran and current chair of Ocado’s board will replace Sir Howard Davies when he stands down in April next year. NatWest also has a vacancy for a permanent chief executive, after the row claimed the head of its group CEO Dame Alison Rose, as well as Coutts' chief executive, Peter Flavel. Haythornthwaite, who was also previously chair of Mastercard and CEO of Invensys, will initially join the board as a non-executive director in January for a handover period.

2. Qantas CEO brings forward departure after airline’s image takes a battering

The CEO of Australian airline Qantas, Alan Joyce, advised the board on Tuesday that he would depart immediately, two months ahead of his scheduled retirement. The news followed a tough few weeks for the air carrier, and Joyce said that “the company needs to move ahead with its renewal as a priority”. In a statement issued the previous day in response to allegations by Australia’s consumer commission that the airline had sold tickets to flights it had already cancelled, Qantas said that its reputation had “been hit hard on several fronts” even before the claims, an acknowledgment of rising customer dissatisfaction. Joyce has been succeeded by Vanessa Hudson.

3. Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary takes a pie to the face from an environmental activist

Ryanair’s CEO Michael O'Leary has been hit in the face with a cream pie by an environmental activist on a trip to Belgium. The incident – which took place outside the European Commission’s headquarters – also saw the airline’s boss take a pie to the back of the head from another protestor. In the aftermath, O'Leary, who was in Brussels to hand a petition calling for reform of ‘overflight’ laws to EU leader Ursula von der Leyen, said: “I love cream cakes. They’re my favourite.”

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