Former Co-op Bank boss Neville Richardson feels the heat

As controversy over the Co-op Bank's rescue deal rumbles on, questions are being asked about the suitability of Neville Richardson to be on the board of M&S Bank.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 29 Aug 2013
Neville Richardson oversaw the Co-op’s takeover of Britannia Building Society, where he was chief executive between 2002 and 2009, and went on to run the combined business until 2011.

Shortly after, it emerged that the Co-op Bank had inherited a mountain of bad debts as a result of its merger with Britannia building society. Richardson left with a £4.6m payoff in February 2012 and joined M&S Bank, the finance arm of the high street retailer, as a non-executive director.

But since the latest controversy surrounding the Co-op Bank has started to unravel, questions are now being asked about Richardson’s suitability to run another bank.

Brooks Newmark, a Conservative member of the Treasury Select Committee, said: "Marks & Spencer or any other financial services company would be mad to take on anyone as culpable as Neville Richardson was for the failings at both Britannia and the Co-op."

The Co-op Bank earlier this week unveiled a £1.5bn rescue deal after suffering a £673.7m loss last year and cancelling a plan to buy 631 bank branches from Lloyds Banking Group.

According to sources, it is thought that most of the £350m of the Co-op’s loan losses and £1.3bn of loans in default stem back to the period when Mr Richardson was in charge. Britannia would certainly have failed by now had it not been merged with the Co-op, the sources told The Times.

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