Lloyds Banking Group boss Antonio Horta-Osorio has unveiled a shake-up of his top team, offering a potential clue to the identity of his eventual successor.
Lloyds, the UK’s biggest high street lender, confirmed details first revealed by Sky News.
Andrew Bester, chief executive of commercial banking, will leave after five years in the job.
He will be replaced by David Oldfield, who runs its retail banking operations, and who sources said was likely to be a candidate to succeed Antonio Horta-Osorio when he eventually leaves the company.
Simon Davies, a former partner at the “Magic Circle” law firm Linklaters, is to leave Lloyds two years after his appointment to lead its human resources, legal and strategy functions.
George Culmer, the group’s chief financial officer, is to take on responsibility for the strategy brief, which may also strengthen his case to replace Mr Horta-Osorio.
Executive director Juan Colombas has been appointed to the newly created role of chief operating officer, heading a number of key departments including IT and group services.
Mr Horta-Osorio said: “The changes we are announcing today are fundamental to prepare the group for the next phase of its transformation.”
The shake-up comes just weeks after the Government sold the remainder of its shareholding in Lloyds, which stood at 43% after its £20bn bailout during the financial crisis of 2008.
It represents an attempt by Mr Horta-Osorio to reshape? his team ahead of his next three-year strategy update, which he is due to give later this year.
One analyst said that the reorganisation of senior responsibilities would be interpreted in the City as a clear sign that Mr Horta-Osorio plans to stay at Lloyds for several more years.
He has been persistently linked with the looming vacancy at the top of HSBC Holdings, where Stuart Gulliver, the chief executive, has said he will step down in 2018.
Mr Horta-Osorio has, however, said that he is happy at the group, which owns Haliax Bank of Scotland as well as Lloyds Bank, and has no plans to leave.