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  • Writer's picturePeter Smith

SATURDAY 18th MARCH 2000; The End?

Thinking about the conversation with Mark, and the new structure, it feels as though the die is now cast. Barring miracles, I am going, and it doesn't sound like there should be too much argument about my redundancy terms.

Bernard has gone; Richard is going, as are Jim and Mike Newens as well as (I suspect) many more of my senior colleagues. NatWest has in a sense gone, although I guess we shouldn't feel too sentimental given that NatWest has a family tree which assimilated hundreds of smaller organisations over hundreds of years. And this won't be the end. RBS will merge, or be acquired, and will probably end up as part of a global financial services monolith in another 10 years time.

Or perhaps it will struggle in the new Internet age and be bought for a song by an Internet portal that two 17-year-old Indian kids started last year in a shed in Bombay. Nobody would have guessed twenty or even ten years ago that the Royal Bank of Scotland could one day buy NatWest; who knows what unlikely events will unfold over the next years.

The last few months haven't always been fun, but it has been an interesting experience. My only major regret from a personal point of view is that we were just getting a stable and talented team in place in purchasing after much change, and now that will inevitably break up; I know many of them are looking for jobs outside, as you would expect them to. And on a similar wider note, I do think NatWest as an organisation was getting its act together, and I believe Sir David would have proved an inspired and inspiring leader.

But we will never know what might have happened. I think RBS has a huge task ahead to deliver what they have promised, but I wish them well. I will be a shareholder for at least another couple of years (tax reasons!), and a lot of people I like and respect will still be there I 'm sure. I will watch their progress with support and interest.

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