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Co-op Bank appoints former Lloyds boss as new chief executive

Andrew Bester will join the bank on July 9.

The Co-operative Bank has appointed a former Lloyds Banking Group executive as its new boss to help return the bank to profit.

Andrew Bester replaces outgoing chief executive Liam Coleman, whose departure was announced in June after just a year and a half in the role.

The bank said the “transition of responsibilities” will begin on Monday, when Mr Bester officially joins the bank and takes a seat on the board.

Mr Bester joins from Lloyds Banking Group, where he led the turnaround of its commercial and wholesale banking business over the five years to 2017.

In Andrew we have found the right person to take us on to the next stage as we focus on achieving a sustainable profitable bank Chairman Bob Dench

He also served at Standard Chartered, having held roles in wholesale banking in Africa and Asia and later working as the finance chief and then chief operating officer of the lender’s consumer banking division.

Chairman Bob Dench said Mr Bester was the right candidate to help bring the bank back to profitability.

“He is a first-class business leader with the experience, drive and intellect required to lead the organisation forward at a key point in its turnaround journey.

“Five years ago, the bank faced very significant problems and over that time we have made progress towards successfully tackling those issues.

“In Andrew we have found the right person to take us on to the next stage as we focus on achieving a sustainable profitable bank.”

Mr Bester’s appointment completes a turnover among the Co-op Bank’s top ranks, with Mr Dench having replaced Dennis Holt in the spring.

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The Co-op Bank struck a £700m rescue deal that saved it from potential collapse last September (Rui Vieira/PA)

Mr Coleman is departing after just a year and a half as chief executive, but has spent a total of five years at the bank, serving as treasurer, director of its retail and commercial bank and later as deputy chief executive.

Mr Bester joins nearly a year after the Co-op Bank struck a £700 million rescue deal that saved it from potential collapse last September.

The refinancing and restructuring package agreed to by the Co-op Bank’s hedge fund investors – which include Silver Point Capital, GoldenTree, Anchorage Capital, Blue Mountain and Cyrus Capital – saw the bank effectively sever its historic relationship with the Co-operative Group and separate itself from the wider mutual’s pension scheme.

It gave the lender the ability to meet regulations on long-term capital requirements, avoid it being wound down and allow it to continue as a stand-alone lender.

Mr Bester said: “Over its recent history, the bank has been through a period of great change and uncertainty and I look forward to working with the teams to return the business to its former strength.”

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