February 27, 2012 9:18 pm

Moreno exit adds to Lloyds woes

Glen Moreno has resigned as deputy chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, adding further to the disruption at the part-nationalised lender.

Mr Moreno, who joined the Lloyds board two years ago and was elevated to deputy chairman five months ago, has been a vocal force on the board and was instrumental in ejecting former chief executive Eric Daniels and hiring his replacement Antonio Horta-Osorio.

The former Citigroup executive, who is also chairman of Financial Times owner Pearson, could not be reached for comment.

However, people who know him well said his decision was motivated by a combination of professional frustration and personal reasons.

“He was sick of the crap of dealing with [government] and all the pay stuff,” said one.

Mr Moreno had been closely involved in the recent task of recouping past bonus allocations to executives including Mr Daniels, as Lloyds decided to pass on some of the £3bn cost of mis-selling personal protection insurance, or PPI.

Until recently, Mr Moreno had been widely seen as a likely successor to chairman Sir Win Bischoff. One leading shareholder said recently: “Glen is the obvious next chairman.”

Mr Moreno had a sometimes fractious relationship with Sir Win, a former Citigroup colleague whose style is far more emollient. The American banker had pushed repeatedly for quicker action from Lloyds to resolve problem issues, particularly over the reluctant departure of Mr Daniels.

Lloyds reported a £3.5bn pre-tax loss last week, as the bank took account of provisions for PPI mis-selling.

But the group appears to be on a surer leadership footing again, with Mr Horta-Osorio, who had taken two months’ sick leave late last year, apparently back to health. That absence persuaded Sir Win that he could not retire this year, according to people close to the chairman, in order to preserve stability at the top of the bank.

Some observers said that had persuaded Mr Moreno to abandon aspirations to the chairmanship. Friends, however, said that although Mr Moreno had earlier signalled an interest in the role, the appeal abated in recent months, following a demanding period on the board, combined with family illness. Remaining chairman of Pearson, while becoming chairman of Lloyds, would have been impossible.

Mr Moreno’s current role will be filled by two existing non-executives. David Roberts becomes deputy chairman, while Anthony Watson takes on the role of senior independent director.

Sir Win said: “Glen has been an indefatigable champion of the shareholders of Lloyds and a constructive and informed voice in our deliberations on the Board. His contribution has been highly valued over the last two years and my colleagues and I will greatly miss his counsel.”

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