Lloyds boss Antonio Horta-Osorio has issued an apology to his staff after an alleged tryst with Russell Group boss Dr Wendy Piatt.
Sky News reported last night that Horta-Osorio was preparing to write to his 75,000 staff expressing "deep regret" over the allegations, which surfaced earlier this month after he and Platt went on a business trip to Singapore.
In the letter, he says he has been the advocate of the "highest professional standards", but added that he "deeply regret[s] being the cause of so much adverse publicity".
The hardest word: Horta-Osorio's letter in full
Having returned to work I wanted to use the opportunity to address the recent media coverage of my private life.
As you may have read, my expenses were reviewed in light of speculation by certain newspapers and the Group has confirmed that they are fully compliant. As you'd expect, I pay for my personal expenses whilst away and only reclaim what is a business expense.
My personal life is obviously a private matter as it is for anyone else. But I deeply regret being the cause of so much adverse publicity and the damage that has been done to the Group's reputation. It has detracted from the great work which you do for our customers on a daily basis and from the major accomplishments of the past five years.
This includes the Government shareholding having reduced from over 40 per cent to around nine per cent with over £16bn plus dividends having been returned to taxpayers.
More broadly I have been a strong advocate of expecting the highest professional standards from everyone at the bank, and that includes me. I will continue to strive to meet those standards. Having the highest professional standards raises the bar against which we are judged and as I have always said we must recognise that mistakes will be made. I don't expect anyone to get everything right all the time. The important point being how we learn from those mistakes and the decisions and actions we take afterward.
As we look forward, it is your hard work over the last five years returning the Group to financial health that means we are best placed among our peers to continue supporting the UK economy and to help Britain prosper. We chose to focus on helping the UK economy – in particular through our support for first time buyers, small businesses and UK corporates – and as a result by choice, our future is inextricably linked with the future success of the UK economy.
The extended period of low interest rates that we now face has created uncertainties for the UK economy and new challenges for the Group. And as a UK focused bank we are not immune to the factors likely to shape the UK economic outlook, but I believe we will be well positioned to meet them.
With that in mind please be assured that I am as committed as ever to leading the Group forward to deliver our strategy and to meet our future ambitions. Thank you again for your messages of support over the last few weeks. I have greatly appreciated them.