Hester said that he hasn't had discussions with the government, but with the top board of RBS and that he hasn't spoken to chancellor George Osborne in two or three months.
The chief executive will leave the top job after the treasury has become increasingly involved at the state-backed bank. Our editor Allister Heath has some words of advice to any successor:
In remarks to City A.M. last year, Hester made it clear that he was being forced to compromise with commercial imperatives; that he was taking “risks” by cutting pay; and that on the margins loans were being made that private banks wouldn’t accept.
The government, it would seem, wants a politically correct RBS, not one that maximises the value of the business; ideally, it would be a pure domestic retail bank, but even the coalition doesn’t dare go that far. If last night was any guide, we can now expect even more pressure for RBS to “lend more to the real economy”, “focus more on SMEs” and engage in sub-prime lending on steroids. Let’s hope the new boss resists the pressure.
One of the favourites is Richard Meddings of Standard Chartered; for his own sake, I hope he isn’t tempted.
All of the Stephen Hester content from today's City A.M.