Co-op Bank appoints finance chief as sixth boss in a decade
The Co-operative Bank has named chief financial officer Nick Slape as its new boss after chief executive Andrew Bester announced plans to quit just two years after taking on the role.
Mr Slape will become the bank’s chief executive on October 31 – and its sixth boss in a decade.
He joined the bank as chief financial officer in October 2018 from Lloyds Banking Group, where he was finance boss of the commercial division for five years.
His appointment comes after Mr Bester announced his shock departure earlier this month, saying his job with the company was done and that fresh blood could take the five-year plan forward.
He only took on the role in July 2018 – at the time marking the bank’s fifth boss in just seven years.
Mr Bester was seen as a safe pair of hands when he was appointed, with a mission to steady the ship after five years of turmoil.
On announcing his plans to leave, he said he had achieved much of what he set out to do in that time, putting it on the path to become a digital ethical bank.
Co-operative Bank chairman Bob Dench said Mr Slape has “played a leading role in shaping and delivering key elements of the turnaround plan” alongside Mr Bester.
He added: “As a result of robust succession planning, he is the natural choice to lead the bank as we move towards achieving sustainable profitability.
“We have made good progress in recent years and key to this success has been Nick’s sound financial management.”
Mr Slape has a career spanning more than 37 years in financial services in the UK and overseas.
He has previously worked at a number of investment banking giants, including Lehman Bros, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch.
He said: “Our franchise is proving resilient in these challenging times, and the steps made in completing major components of the transformation means we have a platform for growth.
“The next few years will continue to be key for the Co-operative Bank as we look to build on the progress to date and complete our turnaround plan.”
The Co-op Bank has been in recovery mode in recent years after enduring some of the toughest times in its near-150-year history, punctuated by missing cash and a drugs scandal.
In 2013, it was forced to pull out of a deal to buy hundreds of Lloyds branches from its larger rival.
The move almost destroyed Co-op Bank after staff found a £1.5 billion hole in its balance sheet, and the wider Co-operative Group was forced to slash its stake in the business as part of a rescue deal.
A few years later, in 2017, the Co-op sold its last shares in its former banking division.
It was not the only scandal to hit the bank during a tumultuous 2013 for the group.
In November that year, the Mail on Sunday published a video of former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers apparently buying cocaine.
Just three days before the recording, the Methodist preacher, who had stepped down as the bank’s chairman months earlier, gave evidence to MPs looking into the collapse of the Lloyds deal.