Moves come amid criticism from investors of bank's succession plans
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This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (July 6, 2017).
Lloyds Banking Group PLC promoted several executives Wednesday, ahead of a strategy revamp and in a bid to appease investors concerned that the bank had too few potential internal replacements for Chief Executive António Horta-Osório.
The reshuffle announced by the bank also sees key lieutenants to Mr. Horta-Osório handed extra responsibilities, evidence of the Portuguese financier's desire to tighten his grip at the lender's helm.
Executive director Juan Colombás will take the additional role of chief operating officer, while Chief Financial Officer George Culmer will also oversee strategy. Andrew Bester, head of commercial banking and one of the few Lloyds executives once touted as a potential replacement to Mr. Horta-Osório, is leaving the company.
The moves follow months of speculation that Mr. Horta-Osório, having overseen the successful privatization of Lloyds, would leave the bank to join a rival or pursue a career outside finance. Mr. Horta-Osório has repeatedly said he was happy at Lloyds.
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However, one major criticism from investors was that the bench of potential internal replacements for Mr. Horta-Osório was too small. Wednesday's moves were in part to address this, according to a person familiar with the matter.
A handful of executives were promoted including Vim Maru, who will oversee the bank's vast retail business. David Oldfield will run the bank's commercial business. The changes are still subject to regulatory approval, according to the bank.
Lloyds will outline its next strategic plan in February, following years of reshaping after its taxpayer bailout in 2009. Earlier this year the government finally shed the remnants of its investment in the bank.
Lloyds will now focus on continuing to reshape itself into one of the lowest-cost retail banks in Europe. The new plan is likely to see more focus on cost-cutting and refocusing on digital products as the bank wrestles with low interest rates and the threat of disruption by technology giants like Amazon.com Inc. or Alphabet Inc.'s Google, according to a person familiar with the matter. The management reshuffle will allow executives to be in place and put the plan in action once it is completed.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 06, 2017 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)