Final Goodwin-Era Survivor Quits RBS Board
The last-remaining director of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to have steered it through the depths of the 2008 financial crisis is to step down in May.
I understand that Joe MacHale, who has sat on the RBS board since September 2004, is to leave at the bank's forthcoming annual general meeting.
Headhunting sources said that RBS would announce Mr MacHale's resignation from the board in the next few days. It has already started a search for his successor.
Mr MacHale's departure will sever the final boardroom link between the Edinburgh-based bank and the era of Fred Goodwin, its former chief executive. RBS has undertaken a clean sweep of its boardroom since the autumn of 2008, when it was forced to seek £45.5bn from taxpayers to keep it afloat.
Mr Goodwin and the former chairman, Sir Tom McKillop, were ousted by the then Labour government, and their exits were followed by a stream of non-executive directors, including Sir Steve Robson, the former Treasury mandarin.
A former head of JP Morgan's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Mr MacHale sits on the board nominations and risk committees of RBS, and was closely involved with the bank's participation in the Asset Protection Scheme (APS), a Treasury vehicle set up to oversee £325bn of RBS's riskiest assets.
Last year, RBS exited the scheme, having successfully sold or wound down a huge chunk of the loans insured by the APS and elsewhere in the bank's non-core unit.
One boardroom colleague said that Mr MacHale, a low-profile businessman, had been asked by the chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, to remain on the board several times since the bailout in order to provide continuity. His insight into the implications of the continued reshaping of RBS's investment bank and the management of its vast balance sheet, the colleague said.
Mr MacHale also sits on the board of Huntsworth, the quoted public relations group, and is a former non-executive director of companies including Brit Insurance.
RBS has faced relentless political pressure to shrink its markets division since the taxpayer acquired an 82 per cent stake in the bank. George Osborne, the Chancellor, has told Stephen Hester, the chief executive, that he wants RBS to be a UK-focused retail bank that is able to support the international banking needs of major British corporate customers.
The toxicity of the annual row over bonuses at RBS has also shaped the terms of the political pressure on Mr Hester, who announced last month that he would look to float a minority stake in Citizens, its US retail bank, in 2015.
RBS was also recently fined £390m for its role in the Libor-fixing scandal, becoming the third big international bank after Barclays and UBS to be punished by regulators.
RBS declined to comment.