UK head of Credit Suisse to oversee bank sales at UKFI

Tim Wallace
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THE SALE of the government’s stake in Lloyds and RBS will be led by the UK boss of Credit Suisse, the Treasury will announce this morning.

James Leigh-Pemberton, who has led the British arm of the Swiss investment bank since 2008, will join UK Financial Investments next month, taking over from outgoing chief executive Jim O’Neil.

In January he will then become executive chairman, a new role combining the top jobs as chairman Robin Budenberg steps down.

Leigh-Pemberton is experienced in the field, having advised the government on the recapitalisation of both bailed out banks in 2008.

A Treasury source described the appointment of the City grandee as “a major coup,” while George Osborne said he is “delighted”.

“His significant experience in the financial services industry, gained over two decades, makes him the right person to take us through the next phase of our plan for the recovery of Britain’s banking system,” said the chancellor.

He is expected to be joined at UKFI by Oliver Holbourn, a rising star at Bank of America Merrill Lynch – the bank that outgoing boss O’Neil will return to when he hands over the reins to Leigh-Pemberton.

The sale of the 38 per cent stake in Lloyds will begin when Osborne, advised by UKFI, decides market conditions are best.

Lloyds’ share price stands at 76.6p, above the 62p break-even price for the taxpayer.

As it is now profitable and the Office of Fair Trading has completed its review into the spin-off of TSB, the bank is ready to be sold.