David Prosser: Banks' changing of the guard gathers pace

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The Independent Online

Outlook Europe's bank bosses are dropping like flies. In the space of a fortnight, we've seen the departures announced of John Varley and Eric Daniels from Barclays and Lloyds respectively. Yesterday it was the turn of Alessandro Profumo, chief executive of UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank, to walk the plank.

The climax of the credit crisis two years ago prompted the immediate departures of bank bosses whose institutions were holed below the water line – the likes of Sir Fred Goodwin at RBS and HBOS's Andy Hornby – but it has taken longer for a more widespread shake-out to take place.

The trigger for Mr Profumo's departure was a row over Libyan shareholdings in UniCredit, but he has for some time been undermined by shareholders' disquiet over the bank's exposure to the problems of Eastern Europe, which came courtesy of a big deal their chief executive pulled off five years ago. Similarly, Mr Daniels has never quite put the hostility of investors towards Lloyds' takeover of HBOS behind him.

Mr Varley is not quite in the same boat. Still, even he belongs to an old guard of bankers associated with the financial crisis. The changing of this guard suggests the world may at last be moving on.