The Business On: Andy Hornby, chief executive, Alliance Boots

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The Independent Online

He looks familiar

You'll probably know him best as the man in charge at HBOS when the credit crunch struck. After the bank collapsed – it was only rescued by a merger with Lloyds – Mr Hornby was pilloried for his lack of bankingexperience and qualifications.

Crumbs – and now he's giving health advice on the high street?

Steady on. Mr Hornby has no more qualifications in pharmacy than he did in banking, but he's not actually working behind a counter telling people how to treat their bunions.

Still, isn't this rather an odd job for a banker?

That's the point about Mr Hornby: he's not a banker, he's a retailer. HBOS – or Halifax Bank as it was at the time – originally poached him from Asda, where he was one of the retail sector's brightest stars.

So how's it going at Boots?

Better than it was at HBOS. Mr Hornby's stewardship of thecompany has been applauded in the City – and yesterday it publishedfigures that show it had a pretty decent Christmas. Sales were up 3.8 per cent.

Still, he must miss those bonuses?

He's not doing too badly – he made £2.1m in the last year for which Alliance Boots has publishednumbers. It turns out banking isn't the only business where you can earn big money.

Lucky him. So what does he have to say about his return to favour?

Not a lot. Alliance Boots is a privately owned company these days and thus not subject to the same reporting requirements as a stock market-listed business. Mr Hornby has shunned the limelight since taking the job — maybe that's understandable giving the kicking he took at HBOS.

Any other crosses to bear?

Well he's a fan of Bristol City, if that's what you mean. And having decided not to move his family home ongetting the Boots job – it's in York – he spends rather too much time on the East Coast mainline.