Ex-Thatcher aide gets Lloyds post

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Lord Blackwell, a former Downing Street adviser to Margaret Thatcher and John Major, is to become the next chairman of state-backed Lloyds Banking Group, the bank confirmed today.

The peer, 61, will succeed retiring chairman Sir Win Bischoff, 72, on April 3, in a move widely expected prior to today's announcement.

Lord Blackwell, currently chairman of Lloyds subsidiary Scottish Widows, has held a number of senior positions in banking and insurance, including roles at NatWest and Standard Life.
He spent 15 years with management consultants McKinsey and has served on the boards of regulators OFT and Ofcom.

Cambridge-educated Norman Blackwell served as a Downing Street adviser under Mrs Thatcher in the 1980s and headed the Number 10 policy unit in the Major government from 1995 to 1997. He was appointed a life peer in 1997.

He is a member of the board of right-wing think-tank, the Centre for Policy Studies and has served on the Lloyds board since June last year. Lord Blackwell has been chairman of support services and construction firm Interserve since 2006.

Sir Win was appointed chairman of the bank in September 2009, a year after it had to be bailed out with £20 billion of taxpayers' money. He announced in May that he was to retire.

He has overseen the restructuring of the bank in conjunction with chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, the former UK boss of Santander who took over at Lloyds in 2011.

It comes as the bank, which remains 33% taxpayer-owned, prepares for the return of the stake to the private sector, having disposed of a 6% chunk for £3.2 billion in September.

Sir Winfried Bischoff said: "I am delighted Lord Blackwell has been chosen to succeed me as chairman.

"Over the past four years, the Group has made significant progress in its goal to become a strong, efficient, UK-focused retail and commercial bank.

"Whilst clearly some challenges remain, the performance of the Group is well on track."
Lord Blackwell said: "I am honoured to have been asked to become Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group. I would like to thank Win for the outstanding job he has done in steering the bank through a tremendous turnaround.

"This is a great opportunity to be part of helping the bank go even further in serving customers and supporting the UK economic recovery as it returns to full private ownership."


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