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  • Writer's picturePeter Smith

FRIDAY 7TH JANUARY 2000; Gordon Pell Comes Onboard

I am working at home today, principally doing annual appraisals- both for my staff and preparing for my own. But I get word that the NatWest Intranet has announced the appointment of Gordon Pell from Lloyds TSB as Board Director responsible for "UK Banking". This seems to include Retail and Corporate, but we are not so sure about Cards or Coutts. There is no mention in the announcement of the implications for Tim Jones (Head of Retail) in particular, or any of the other existing executives.

This looks like quite a coup. He has been at Lloyds almost 30 years, and was Group Executive Director, Retail Distribution, and I think he was main Board. He has had experience of mergers, through the bringing together of Lloyds and TSB, although I guess we hope that won't be too relevant for us. But he does seem to have a very impressive background, and as he is coming from the most respected and efficient Retail Bank, I am sure we are hoping that some of their success will prove to be transferable.

Mr. Pell has agreed a salary of £400K plus a guaranteed 60% bonus. I assume he will have at least a one-year contract, so I guess if we lose he could end up making close to a million for a few weeks work! And much as he looks to be a valuable addition to the team, surely there will have to be some senior casualties soon- we can't just keep collecting trophy executives like a millionaire Mormon with multiple supermodel wives. No-one I've spoken to has any clue what Alistair Lyons is doing for his £350K. I am sure it is jolly important and he is doing a great job, but it is not exactly high profile.

Although it has been quiet in the office this week, the PR battle is obviously heating up now- the rest of January is obviously make or break time, leading up to "day 46" (Jan 31st) of the 60 day process, which is the final day for new or revised bids. Royal Bank puts out an announcement comparing the options facing shareholders. Not surprisingly, they believe their bid is the best option, and they go to some lengths to downplay the merger risks, just as BoS did earlier this week. This is clearly the hot topic at the moment. They quote the Lloyds I TSB success, and say they have identified three critical areas for successful execution of mergers; income growth, IT integration, and managing employees. They have detailed plans to cope with these factors.

In the afternoon, I try to beat the Friday M25 hell and set off for Grantham in readiness for my speech to the Banner annual conference. Banner are the stationery supply company that has emerged from the old HMSO; they have won our Group business for stationery, taking on more work with the closure of Cheadle. They asked me to speak as we are the biggest account they have won this year. I quite enjoy public speaking, and I do sometimes get suppliers to speak to my team, so in the spirit of supplier partnership I agreed to do their meeting.

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