Updated: Only the beginning of the changes at Lloyds Banking Group

The announcement this morning that Helen Weir and Archie Kane will be leaving Lloyds Banking Group is undoubtedly only the first of many changes that the new CEO, Antonio Horta-Osorio, will implement.

The news that Archie Kane is leaving is no great surprise as it has been rumoured for some time that he would retire. Archie came from the TSB side of the merger with Lloyds and was was one of the architects of that integration, some would say takeover of Lloyds Bank by the smaller Trustees Savings Bank. He has held many senior positions in the new Lloyds TSB culminating in his current position responsible for Scottish Widows and Lloyds Banking Group in Scotland. His departure will be a loss to the UK Financial Services sector.

The departure of Helen Weir should come as no real surprise following her losing out to Antonio Horta-Osorio. The official explanation is that the reason is that in his new Lloyds Banking Group this role no longer exists.

If, as it is rumoured, Helen will return to her retail roots, this will be a great loss to the Retail Financial Services sector where she has made a significant positive impact.

What is interesting is who will step up to replace Helen. This is Joy Griffiths who is currently responsible for the Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland businesses and David Nichiolson who runs Halifax. The interesting aspect to this is that Joy Griffiths has resigned to become CEO of Experian Analytics (see http://www.itsafinancialworld.net/2011/02/joy-griffiths-leaves-lloyds-banking.html ), so is currently working her notice, so this arrangement can only be until June when she is due to take up her new post. Expect more arrivals from Santander. Update: 23rd March. Lloyds Banking Group has announced that Alison Brittain, the Executive Director for Retail Distribution and Intermediaries at Santander UK, will take up the role that Joy Griffiths has been holding. It is unlikely that Alison Brittain will be the last Santander appointment in Lloyds Banking Group.

They will report into Horta-Osorio but not join the Executive Committee, however Antonio Lorenzo, Director of Wealth and International, who Horta-Osaoio brought with him from Santander, will also have responsibility for all Retail Products and marketing. Antonio Lorenzo will be on the Executive Committee. Antonio Lorenzo was Horta-Osorio’s CFO at Santander.

The promotion of John Maltby onto the Executive Committee with a specific responsibility for the SME (Small Medium-sized Enterprises)  sector signals a continuation of the strategy adopted at Santander of specific focus on growing the SME sector. The difference being Santander was a new entrant and a challenger brand as opposed to Lloyds Banking Group where it is an established player with a significant market share. One of the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking may even be that Lloyds Banking Group has to reduce its share of that market.
Finally the appointment of Martin Dodds as the executive responsible for complaints and the elevation of complaints as a function reporting to the CEO is a reflection of how important fixing customer service is to Horta-Osario. Given the level of complaints at Santander, this is a further example of  Horta-Osorio bringing his learnings from Santander to Lloyds Banking Group. It is a well deserved promotion for Martin who is a very customer centric individual, who has direct experience of dealing with the customers and the challenges his colleagues on the front line face.

These moves herald significant changes to come at Lloyds Banking Group.

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