New bank boss

Haythornthwaite to take over as NatWest chair

Rick Haythornthwaite will chair NatWest, parent of RBS

NatWest Group, trading north of the border as Royal Bank of Scotland, has announced that former Centrica chair Rick Haythornthwaite will succeed Sir Howard Davies as chairman.

Mr Haythornthwaite will join the board as an independent non-executive director on 8 January and will take over as chair on 15 April, when Sir Howard will leave the bank. 

Sir Howard has been under pressure to resign sooner than planned following the cancellation of former Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage’s account at NatWest owned Coutts bank.

Chief executive Dame Alison Rose stepped down after admitting leaking a story to a television journalist, but Sir Howard has stuck to his planned retirement date next year.

Mark Seligman, senior independent director, said: “At our AGM in April we announced that we would be commencing the search for Howard’s successor. 

“Today’s announcement follows a rigorous process which I have led along with the senior independent directors from our ring-fenced bank.  After careful consideration of a number of high-quality candidates, the board has unanimously chosen Rick as our new chair.  

“Rick is a highly experienced chair who combines a successful commercial career with a deep knowledge of financial services markets and technology, as well as a strong track record of delivery at significant customer-facing organisations.”

Howard Davies
Sir Howard Davies: confident choice (pic: Terry Murden)

Sir Howard said: “I am very pleased by the choice the board has made and am confident that Rick’s experience and range of skills will complement and further strengthen the NatWest board in the years to come. I look forward to working closely with him to ensure a smooth handover next year.”

Mr Haythornthwaite said: “It is a privilege to assume the role of NatWest Group chair. I am inheriting a very different NatWest compared to my predecessor; one that is more customer-focused, financially resilient and well positioned to maintain its recent strong performance.

“I look forward to working with the board to build on the exceptional progress made, so we can continue to support the UK economy and deliver for our customers and stakeholders.

Mr Haythornthwaite is chairman of Ocado Group and a non-executive director of NYSE-listed Globant S.A. He also has a number of private company directorships which include chairing the AA, QiO Technologies Ltd and Railsr, alongside a role as an advisory partner at investment bank Moelis & Co.

Prior to taking up his appointment as chair of Natwest Group, he will be stepping down as a director of Globant S.A. and from his private company directorships apart from the AA where he will transition to become a non-executive director. 

Previous roles:

  • Global Chair of Mastercard Inc.: 2006-2020.
  • Chair of Centrica plc: 2014-2019. 
  • Chair of Network Rail Limited: 2009-2012.
  • Chair, Haythornthwaite Review of UK Armed Forces Incentivisation: 2022-2023.
  • Chair of the Creative Industries Federation/Creative England: 2017-2022.
  • Chair of the Board of Governors of the Southbank Centre: 2008-2016.
  • CEO of Invensys plc: 2001-2005.
  • CEO at Blue Circle Group plc: 1999-2001.
  • Non-executive director at Land Securities Group plc, Imperial Chemical Industries plc, Lafarge S.A. and Cookson Group plc.

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