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Lord Myners among runners for RBS chair

Confirmation this morning that Sir Philip Hampton is leaving Royal Bank of Scotland for GlaxoSmithKline (see my blog yesterday) has prompted a search for a successor at Gogarburn with former Labour minister Lord Myners among the names in the frame.

He was the minister in charge of the banks when RBS went belly up so has the inside story that  would help steer its immediate future.

Myners has never been afraid to speak his mind and produced a critical report of the Cooperative Group’s governance this year after joining the board of the troubled organisation.

As I revealed in April this year, Sir Sandy Crombie, the senior independent director at RBS, ruled himself out of the chairmanship and will lead the search for a successor. Former KPMG executive Brendan Nelson, a fellow non-executive director at RBS, was linked with the position earlier this year.

Hampton will leave sometime next year, once a successor has been found and it is likely that some will call for a female chairman. One potential candidate is Baroness Ford who chaired the Olympic Park Legacy committee, which gives her a link to government sources, and last year became chairman of STV. She headed the capital markets business at Royal Bank of Canada and she would be a popular choice and add another female at the top of a FTSE 100 company.

Myners would fit the bill, having worked in the sector since 1974 and holding a number of senior positions in the City. He is a former chairman of Marks & Spencer.

City commentator David Buik says: ” I sincerely hope that RBS heads for Lord Myners’s services. Whether he will do the job remains to be seen. However he ticks all the boxes.”

Some might feel his time as a director of the discredited NatWest at the time of its takeover by RBS in 2000 would count against him. He was also challenged over his account of the pension agreement with former chief executive Fred Goodwin.

However, he has earned respect as  heavyweight in the City. He is a former chairman of the Association of Investment Trust Companies and has also been a member of the Financial Reporting Council and the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers. The Myners report for the Treasury and Department of Trade and Industry questioned whether pension funds were acting in the interests of their beneficiaries.

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