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CEO informs Co-op of relationship

The board of the Co-operative Bank has backed its chief executive after he informed them he was having a relationship with a senior colleague.

Speaking after details were published in the Mail on Sunday, chairman Richard Pym confirmed Niall Booker had spoken to him about the relationship and said he had "wished him happiness".

The paper claimed he was in a relationship with Samantha Davenport, reportedly a senior figure in the company's human resources department responsible for selecting board members, but the firm said there was no conflict of interest.

A spokesman for the Co-Op Bank said: "The bank does not comment on the private lives of its members of staff.

"We do not consider that a conflict of interest has arisen as a result of this situation as the outcome of any director appointment process is decided by the board.

"Niall Booker had advised the company of the situation and we have taken steps to ensure that no conflict of interest can arise."

Mr Pym added: "Niall spoke to me about this matter after having formally advised the company secretary of the relationship.

"In the course of our conversation I wished him happiness in his personal life and we agreed that any potential or perceived governance issues would need to be addressed. We have taken appropriate steps to consider and act upon this.

"The board strongly supports Niall. He has performed supremely well in the most difficult of circumstances. "

It comes after the former chairman Paul Flowers resigned after facing allegations of drug use last year.

And the troubled lender last month revealed 38,000 customers had left the bank in the first half of 2014 in the wake of what Mr Booker called "negative publicity", while losses narrowed to £75.8 million compared to £844.6 million for the same period in 2013.

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