George Osborne denies RBS boss Stephen Hester was forced out
BRITISH Chancellor George Osborne insisted Stephen Hester made the decision to quit as head of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) following claims that he effectively forced him out.
Mr Osborne said the banking chief executive "decided to go" but added that his "consent and approval" was sought.
Mr Hester quit last week but made clear he had wanted to see the bank through to privatisation and had "mixed feelings" about leaving.
Mr Osborne also confirmed he will set out the next steps for state-backed banks RBS and Lloyds banking group tomorrow in his annual Mansion House speech.
Mr Osborne said the chief executive had "done a very good rescue job".
"Stephen decided to go and did that in discussion with the board of RBS," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"Let's be clear, it was a decision of Stephen Hester and the board but, of course, as the person who represents the taxpayer interest, and we have got a huge stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland because the previous government put a huge amount of taxpayers' money into it, of course my consent and approval was sought."
Mr Osborne said the Government was beginning to think about returning the bank to private ownership on condition that "we get our money back".
"I set these objectives and how long it takes will be a matter for the markets, what's going on more broadly in the economy."