Banking lobby group picks Postings as new chief after sexism row
Written by Rother Radio News on 06/10/2020
Britain’s main banking lobby group will on Wednesday name David Postings as its next boss with a brief to help steer the industry through the remainder of the coronavirus crisis.
Sky News has learnt that Mr Postings, who recently stepped down as global chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, will be appointed as the chief executive of UK Finance.
The appointment will come as the UK’s major banks grapple with the financial and reputational fallout from the emergency loan schemes set up by ministers to help the economy weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Postings’ appointment will see the installation of a respected bank executive in one of the industry’s most important posts.
He is already a non-executive director of UK Finance.
However, his appointment may also spark disappointment in some quarters that the job has not gone to a woman.
Stephen Jones, UK Finance’s former chief, resigned from the role several months ago because of remarks he had made 12 years ago about Amanda Staveley, the prominent financier.
Sapphire Partners, a headhunting firm with a long track record of producing diverse shortlists for traditionally male-dominated boardroom roles, was subsequently hired to recruit a new chief executive for the trade body.
Some directors of the organisation, which represents Britain’s banks, mortgage lenders and payment firms, had been pushing for it to name a female successor to Mr Jones.
Sapphire’s involvement reflected UK Finance directors’ desire to ensure that female candidates were appropriately reflected on the shortlist, according to one insider.
The search for a new chief was launched at an awkward time for the lobbying group, which has played a major part in the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak has catapulted lenders into a pivotal role tasked with keeping credit flowing to millions of businesses – while also raising concerns about the reputational risks of trying to enforce those loans when repayments are due to commence next year.
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme has also become mired in controversy about the scale of fraudulent applications arising from its launch.
Before his departure last month, Mr Jones helped to orchestrate – alongside the Treasury – the emergency financing schemes which have channelled tens of billions of pounds of state-guaranteed loans to struggling businesses.
He resigned because of comments he made during telephone calls with then colleagues at Barclays during the 2008 banking crisis.
The issue of his remarks had resurfaced because transcripts of the calls could be read aloud in court in the coming weeks as part of a case brought by Ms Staveley against the British lender.
Mr Jones had already written to UK Finance staff to apologise for the “wrong” and “inappropriate” comments.
Ms Staveley alleges that Barclays deceived her over the substantially higher fees it separately paid to Qatari investors which helped bail out the bank and keep it out of the clutches of the government.
The trial, which began last month, continues, and Barclays denies any wrongdoing.
One ally of Mr Jones said he had been determined not to allow the sexism row to overshadow UK Finance’s work on gender and other forms of diversity during a period when they have become politically explosive issues.
During his three years at UK Finance, he had been heavily involved in a Treasury-sponsored initiative to improve diversity across the financial services sector.
UK Finance is one of the few City organisations which has equal gender representation both on its board and in its broader workforce.
The group declined to comment.
© Sky News 2020