Tuesday 23 October 2018

Co-op Bank finance chief steps down as clear-out of top ranks continues

The lender has also replaced its chairman and chief executive in recent months.

A general view of a Co-operative Bank branch in Derby (PA)
A general view of a Co-operative Bank branch in Derby (PA)

By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

The clear-out of Co-op Bank’s top ranks continued as finance chief Tom Woods announced plans to step down after less than one year in the role.

The lender confirmed on Friday that Mr Wood, who also served as the bank’s restructuring officer, was leaving after making “significant progress” in the bank’s restructuring programme over the past 12 months.

Mr Wood became the bank’s third finance chief in two years when he joined the bank in September 2017, replacing John Worth.

Co-op Bank will launch a formal search process for his successor, but said Mr Wood will stay on until a replacement is found.

Mr Wood said: “It has been a privilege to lead the restructuring of The Co-operative Bank.

“The hard work of many colleagues has helped us achieve some key milestones ahead of schedule, in particular towards de-risking the balance sheet, reducing our pension liabilities and improving the capital position.

“Our progress to lower costs and improved efficiency has laid important foundations for the bank as it builds for the future.”

It marks the third major departure among Co-op Bank’s top brass this year, having first seen chairman Dennis Holt leave and be replaced by Paragon’s boss Bob Dench in the spring.

A few months later, the lender announced the departure of chief executive Liam Coleman after just a year and a half in the role.

Andrew Bester – a former executive of Lloyds Banking Group – was appointed as his replacement nearly a month later.

Mr Wood leaves Co-op Bank nearly 12 months after it struck a £700 million rescue deal that saved it from potential collapse last September.

The refinancing and restructuring package agreed to by the Co-op Bank’s hedge fund investors – which include Silver Point Capital, GoldenTree, Anchorage Capital, Blue Mountain and Cyrus Capital – saw the bank effectively sever its historic relationship with the Co-operative Group and separate itself from the wider mutual’s pension scheme.

It gave the lender the ability to meet regulations on long-term capital requirements, avoid it being wound down and allow it to continue as a stand-alone lender.

Mr Bester said: “Tom’s drive and commitment has helped to materially transform the position of the bank over the past 12 months and we thank him for his significant contribution in delivering a number of complex restructuring milestones.

“The bank is now in a stronger position and I understand Tom’s desire to take on a new challenge. We wish him every success for the future.

“There is still much to be done as we seek to return to a position of sustainable profitability, rebuilding the ethical bank we know is valued by our customers.”

Press Association

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