Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) chairman has moved to allay concerns that chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio might leave the lender in the short-term, The Telegraph has reported. The news came as the government returned the bailed-out lender to full private ownership this week.
Lloyds’ share price has been little changed in London this morning having inched 0.01 percent higher to 71.53p as of 08:48 BST, outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.60 percent lower at 7,458.45 points. The group’s shares had added more than five percent to their value over the past year, and are up by some 15 percent in the year-to-date.
Lloyds’ chairman Norman Blackwell told The Telegraph in an exclusive interview yesterday that Horta-Osorio had no intention of leaving the bank in the short term. His comments come amid reports that the Portuguese banker could take the top job at HSBC (LON:HSBA).
“There’s no sense from Antonio that the job is done,” Blackwell told the newspaper. “He’s working hard on the strategy for creating the bank of the future, and he’s as excited as I am about the prospects for that.”
The chairman further noted that as part of the bank’s pending strategy review, he had set the executive the task of building Lloyds into a “great British institution” which is respected for its achievements, something he believes could be achieved within a “five-year time span.”
The comments came after the government sold the remainder of its shares in Lloyds, returning the blue-chip lender to full private ownership following a state-funded bailout during the financial crisis. The FTSE 100 group noted yesterday that it had returned more than £22.2 billion to the British taxpayer, repaying £894 million more than the original investment.