LONDON: Lloyds Bank CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio said on Monday he would step down next year after a decade at the helm, leaving Britain’s biggest domestic bank to find a successor to steer it through the coronavirus fallout. While his departure had been expected, it comes at a critical time as banks brace for a wave of bad debts as customers struggle in an economy heading into a deep recession.
Horta-Osorio’s successor will need to push Lloyds further into wealth management and online services while finding a way to increase profits in an era of almost zero interest rates, analysts said.
His departure could also lead to some musical chairs at top banks with analysts speculating about both where Horta-Osorio might go next and who will replace him at Lloyds. A Lloyds spokesman said a search for a successor that would include both internal and external candidates would begin imminently, adding that Horta-Osorio, 56, had given the company no indication of what he planned to do next.
Goodbody analyst John Cronin said Horta-Osorio could take the top job at Spain’s Santander or Unicredit, especially if the Italian bank’s boss Jean-Pierre Mustier were to switch to Lloyds.
Horta-Osorio said he would leave by June next year and was going with mixed emotions. He told staff in a memo seen by Reuters that leading Lloyds had been the job of a lifetime.