Horta Osório could return to Lloyds if the board agrees

LLOYDS Banking Group chief executive António Horta Osório is having one-to-one meetings with board members with a view to coming back to the firm from sick leave.

Horta Osório, who stepped back last month due to “extreme fatigue”, will also be checked over by an independent panel before he can return, City A.M. understands.

Independent medical experts have been given access to Antonio, his doctors and his medical records.

Institutional shareholders as well as the Treasury and UK Financial Investments, which holds the state’s 41 per cent stake in the firm, will also have a say in whether he can return to the fold at the part-nationalised bank.

It is thought that Horta Osório is keen to take up his job, which he has only held since March, but is effectively being asked to apply for the post again.

He has already overseen a whirlwind overhaul at the bank, cutting 15,000 jobs and taking a £3.2bn charge for mis-selling payment protection insurance, while Lloyds’ share price has plummeted.

The bank is also in the middle of selling off 632 branches.

The board is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks, once the chief completes his round of meetings.

Lloyds hopes to have an answer before Christmas, given that interim chief executive Tim Tookey is set to leave the company in February.

Lloyds declined to comment yesterday.