António Horta-Osório © Bloomberg

AHO, AHO it’s back to work we go. António Horta-Osório, known as AHO, is staying as digger-in-chief at Lloyds. Chatter that AHO would move on to head up another bank — HSBC? — once taxpayers had sold their shares have been over-egged. AHO’s prince has not arrived, yet. Instead, he is rearranging the gnomes in his garden.

Two have left the bank. Juan Colombas, AHO’s Doc, has become chief operating officer. David Oldfield has been shuffled to the commercial division. Vim Maru will head the retail bank. Yet AHO still lacks an obvious successor. And in February he will outline his latest three-year strategic plan. It is safe to say there will be something about hammering down on costs, mining opportunities in automation and technology and shrinking branches — anything to draw a line under years of state ownership and the scandal over PPI mis-selling and the HBOS Reading fraud.

Lloyds still needs AHO. As Snow White’s lieutenants yodelled as they went to work:

“We dig up diamonds by the score

A thousand rubies, sometimes more

But we don’t know what we dig ‘em for”. At least AHO will be there to explain.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.