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RBS chief Hester to leave post

Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester has announced plans to step down from the lender after five years at the helm.

It also emerged that up to 2,000 jobs at RBS's investment bank are to be axed on Thursday, although the bank declined to comment.

The cuts are expected to be spread around the bank's offices across the world, but it is feared some workers in the City will lose their jobs as the global investment arm is decreased from 11,000 to 9,000.

Mr Hester will leave later this year and will receive 12 months' pay and benefits worth £1.6 million and the potential for a £4 million shares windfall from a long-term incentive scheme. But he will receive no bonus for 2013.

He said: "We are now in a position where the Government can begin to prepare for privatising RBS.

"While leading that process would be the end of an incredible chapter for me, ideally for the company it should be led by someone at the beginning of their journey."

Chancellor George Osborne said Mr Hester should be commended for "having brought RBS back from the brink" following its taxpayer bailout at the height of the financial crisis.

He said: "When Stephen Hester took on the job at RBS in 2008 it was a bust bank with a broken culture and posed a huge risk to financial stability.

"RBS today is safer, stronger and better able to support its customers. I want to commend Stephen Hester for everything he has done to make this turnaround possible."

He added Mr Hester had "made an important contribution to Britain's recovery from the financial crisis".

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