Co-op Bank cuts directors ahead of market float

Tim Wallace
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FOUR Co-operative Bank directors were taken off the board yesterday as the lender shook up its management structure ahead of its stock market debut.

The move saw directors from the Co-op Group turfed out in an effort to create a more independent team monitoring executives’ activities.

As a result there are now two executive directors and two non-executives from the group, outnumbered by five external non-executives.

There is room for another three independent non-executives to be appointed as well as one more group appointee.

Those spaces are thought to be likely to be filled ahead of the float, tipping the balance further in favour of independent oversight, to reassure new investors the bank is well run.

The bank is being floated on the stock market after regulators found a £1.5bn capital hole at the lender. The Co-op Group is putting in £1bn and debt investors are putting in another £500m to plug the gap.

In the process the group is losing much of its ownership of the bank, listing it on the stock market to bring in more funds.

The sale will leave the group with a stake of anywhere between 50 and 75 per cent of the bank.

The details of the prospectus presenting the bail in offer to bondholders and giving potential investors more information about the deal and the state of the bank will be unveiled later this quarter.

Hedge fund investors are in negotiations with the Co-op over the likely offer, while retail investors have also been making their voices heard.

Non-executives Len Wardle, Duncan Bowdler, Peter Harvey and Bob Newton are leaving the board of the bank.

Co-op Group chief executive Euan Sutherland is joining the bank board as a non-executive.