Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill to step down

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.

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.

The company’s woes have been compounded more recently, after it was forced to abandon a £250 million funding round last week, sending shares crashing to a new record low.

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 would appoint an existing independent non-executive director as interim chair if a replacement is not found by the end of the year.

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