António Horta-Osório announced plans to bow out of Lloyds Bank after more than ten years today.
And I’m very curious to see how favourable or unfavourable the commentary is tomorrow and after he finally goes in 2021.
On the face of it, you’d have to say he did a difficult job very well. Lloyds was a mess when he arrived; it is now a much more solid, less risky, far simpler operation.
There were some, erm, hiccups on the way. Such as a £22 billion bill for PPI mi-selling.
Some rather unpleasant activity at a branch in Reading.
And a £64 million fine for mistreating mortgage customers.
There was also that incident in a Singapore hotel that we would rather not talk about. (Correction: that he would rather we didn’t talk about.)
Now, AHO’s press team has changed over time, but it has always been excellent.
There wasn’t a lot they could do about that one.
Horta-Osório befriended both editors and indeed proprietors, which served to protect him from negative coverage to an extent.
Once he is no longer a powerful banker, will that protection hold?