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Co-operative Bank chief to step down just months after chairman replaced

Liam Coleman has been CEO since January 2017.

The Co-operative Bank has announced the departure of its chief executive after just a year and a half in the role, leaving the door open for a fresh face at the head of the recently rescued lender.

It said Liam Coleman has decided to step down after five years at the bank and the completion of its recapitalisation deal last year.

While Mr Coleman has been at Co-op Bank since 2013, he only took the top post in January last year after serving as treasurer, director of its retail and commercial bank and later as deputy CEO.

A successor has yet to be announced, but the bank assured that it was “mindful of the need to manage an orderly succession” and would keep Mr Coleman on board as it searches for his replacement.

The move comes just months after the bank ushered in new chairman Robert Dench to replace Dennis Holt, in what is shaping up as a clean sweep of its top ranks.

Mr Coleman’s departure comes 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.

Having successfully completed the Recapitalisation process last year, I feel it is now both the right time for me and for the business to look to new leadership for the next stage of the journey. Departing Coop Bank CEO Liam Coleman

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 Coleman said: “As a member of the team originally brought in to help turn the Bank around, I feel a great sense of achievement in how much we have collectively delivered both to address the fundamental issues the organisation faced back in 2013 and to reshape the business around our retail customers.

“This is a great bank with a strong customer base and distinct brand and the progress made means there is much to build upon.

“However, having successfully completed the recapitalisation process last year, I feel it is now both the right time for me and for the business to look to new leadership for the next stage of the journey.”

He assured that in the meantime it remains “very much business as usual”.

Chairman Mr Dench said the priority for the bank’s “next phase” was to rebuild the bank’s competitiveness as a “genuine alternative for customers”.

“Under Liam’s tenure the bank is stronger and more resilient on many levels having also completed the outsourcing of our major IT systems to IBM; continued to significantly de-risk the balance sheet; and substantially reduce our cost base.

“The achievements have provided the platform to move forward with our plans to achieve a sustainable and profitable Co-operative Bank.”

“I would like to thank Liam on behalf of the board for his significant contribution.”

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