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RBS begins search for chairman as Hampton heads to GSK

RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton is to become the new chairman at GlaxoSmithKline, ending long-running speculation as to where his next job might be and prompting more speculation about who will get his job at Gogarburn.

One person to rule out is non-executive director Sandy Crombie. I wrote some months ago that the former Standard Life chief executive was not interested. Mind you, these things have a habit of coming back to bite you.

Hampton is now one of the well-travelled City high-flyers having already been chairman of Sainsbury’s. He will take on his new role next year with at least one public appearance in Scotland in his current position still to come when he hosts a regular gathering of customers, media and assorted others at the Dovecot Studios next month.

It was at a similar event in the same location that he first mentioned the possibility of RBS relocating if Scotland voted Yes to independence. With his ties to the bank loosening it will be interesting to hear if he has any more to say on the ongoing political struggle and on the bank’s relationship with the Treasury.

Hampton would have liked the government to begin selling its shares in RBS and declared in the summer of last year that it would be ready this year for a return to the private sector. That did not look too clever when new CEO Ross McEwan was forced in January to report its biggest loss since the 2008 crash.

Hampton has defended the company’s right to pay bonuses and was responsible for paring down the board as well as introducing greater gender balance.

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