The ten-week itch: Nathan Bostock leaves RBS for Santander

After only ten weeks in his role as finance director of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Nathan Bostock is leaving RBS to become Santander UK’s deputy chief executive.

The move is significant blow to RBS, which is already in turmoil over IT failures and claims it was ‘killing off’ small firms for profit.

Bostock had previously worked with Spanish-based Santander up until 2009; before joining RBS after its GBP 45 billion taxpayer bailout.

He will be joining the bank as it begins plans to list on the stock market when market conditions improve.

According to sources close to the bank, he is now in line to potentially replace Ana Botin as Chief Executive.

However, as of Tuesday it was unclear whether Mr Bostock had received confirmation on the role, and sources at Santander state Ms Botin has no plans to leave the bank.

‘Part of the process’

State-backed RBS is constructing a GBP 38 billion internal bad bank for its riskiest assets, in addition to focusing the business on high street banking.

Mr Bostock, as the former head of restructuring and risk, would have been an integral part of both of these processes.

“RBS Group can confirm that Nathan Bostock has this evening informed the board of his intention to resign from his role as group finance director,” said RBS in a statement.

“His formal resignation is expected soon, but he will remain in his position to oversee an orderly handover of his responsibilities.”

According to sources close to RBS, the bank’s new Chief Executive Ross McEwan is now planning to outline a new strategy in early 2014, and is currently seeking commitment from other senior executives to see the plan through.

McEwan took over as chief executive in October and engaged in a sweeping overhaul to clean up the bank.

The loss of Bostock is an unneeded loss for McEwan, who now faces the task of replacing three key roles within the senior management framework at the bank – namely Bostock’s role as finance director, a non-core division head, and head of the retail bank.

Critical timing

Bostock’s departure comes as RBS faces criticism over IT systems failures that left customers unable to withdraw cash last week for three hours.

McEwan has admitted this week RBS failed to invest sufficiently in the bank’s IT systems “for decades” – leaving customers unable to use debit or credit cards on one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.

In addition, the bank has faced the Tomlinson report, which alleges the bank pushed small businesses to the brink in order to sell properties to West Register – its specialist property arm.

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