Belfast Telegraph

Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill to step down

Shortly after his departure was confirmed, Metro Bank launched a £300 million fundraiser.

Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill has announced he will leave the lender by the end of 2019 (PA)
Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill has announced he will leave the lender by the end of 2019 (PA)

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Troubled lender Metro Bank has announced that founder and chairman Vernon Hill will step down by the end of the year.

The group said in July that Mr Hill would step down as chairman of the business but stay on as president and a non-executive director.

Mr Hill has now revealed he will be leaving the business on December 31, as it moves forward with its plans to appoint an independent chairman.

Hours after the company confirmed Mr Hill’s departure, it announced that it has launched a £300 million fundraiser, which was postponed last week.

Shares jumped by more than a quarter after the challenger bank said demand for the bond is worth around £475 million but said it would provide further information once the bond issue is completed later on Wednesday.

Last week, shares crashed to a record low after the bank was forced to abandon the fundraiser, initially planned to secure £250 million.

The board shares Vernon’s view that Metro Bank has now reached a point where an independent chairperson is appropriate Sir Michael Snyder, senior independent director

Metro Bank shares have shed more than 80% of their value since the start of 2019 after it revealed a £900 million accounting blunder in January.

Mr Hill’s departure comes after months of pressure from investors and regulators who expressed unease about his decision to remain on the company board despite resigning as chairman.

The colourful American entrepreneur co-founded the bank more than eight years ago, focusing on building customer-friendly branches.

However, the business has faced questions over the viability of its high street-led model in a banking industry increasingly moving digital.

Sir Michael Snyder, senior independent director at Metro Bank, said: “Vernon is the inspiration behind Metro Bank, the first high street bank to open in the UK in over 100 years.

“The board shares Vernon’s view that Metro Bank has now reached a point where an independent chairperson is appropriate to oversee the next stage of our journey.”

The company said its search for a new chair is “progressing well” but it would appoint an existing independent non-executive director as interim chair if a replacement is not found by the end of the year.

Shares in the company were up 27.8% to 230p on Wednesday.

PA

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