NatWest Group Holds Emergency Talks as CEO Dame Alison Rose Faces Potential Resignation
The board of NatWest Group convened an emergency meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the future of CEO Dame Alison Rose, according to sources. The nearly four-year tenure of Dame Alison is expected to end in ignominy following her admission of discussing Nigel Farage’s bank details with a BBC journalist. Downing Street briefings suggesting a loss of confidence from the prime minister and chancellor have further fueled speculation of her resignation.
While a final decision has yet to be made, insiders suggest that Dame Alison’s departure is highly likely. The taxpayer-backed lender, NatWest, declined to comment on the matter. If confirmed, her resignation would be a significant embarrassment for the NatWest board, which had recently expressed full confidence in her leadership. It would also mark an abrupt end to the executive career of the only woman to have led one of Britain’s major high street banks.
Intensifying Row Over Disclosure of Inaccurate Information
Dame Alison has been embroiled in a controversy for the past ten days regarding the disclosure of inaccurate information to BBC business editor Simon Jack. The information pertained to the decision to close Nigel Farage’s accounts with Coutts, a subsidiary of NatWest. Farage has accused the bank’s management of a “serious breach” and called for Dame Alison’s dismissal.
Farage’s call for her resignation has been supported by Tory former cabinet minister David Davis, who believes that Dame Alison has little choice but to step down. Both the NatWest CEO and the BBC have issued apologies to Farage over the incident. Dame Alison admitted her responsibility for the erroneous briefing, clarifying that the closure of Farage’s accounts was not solely for commercial reasons.
Pressure from Downing Street and the Treasury
According to The Times, Downing Street and the Treasury are reportedly pushing for Dame Alison’s resignation. In response to the controversy, NatWest has announced plans to commission an independent review of the account closure arrangement at Coutts and the breaches of client confidentiality. The City watchdog has also demanded an inquiry into the matter.
Dame Alison expressed her regret over the situation, apologizing to the board and her colleagues. She emphasized her deep connection to National Westminster Bank, where she began her career, and her pride in leading the institution. Recognizing the impact of her actions on the group, she acknowledged the difficulty of the issue at hand.
As the situation unfolds, a statement regarding Dame Alison’s future is expected to be released before the stock market opens on Wednesday morning.
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