Chief executive and four directors quit Robert Fleming

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Bill Garrett, the Robert Fleming chief executive who negotiated the £4bn sale of the UK investment bank to Chase Manhattan, is to quit at the end of December. Four other former Fleming board directors are also planning to leave "within the next few months".

Bill Garrett, the Robert Fleming chief executive who negotiated the £4bn sale of the UK investment bank to Chase Manhattan, is to quit at the end of December. Four other former Fleming board directors are also planning to leave "within the next few months".

The departures were announced in a memo circulated to staff last Thursday. In it, Mr Garrett, who is leaving along with Henry Strutt, the former managing director of Jardine Fleming, the firm's joint venture in Asia, the finance director Simon Ball and general counsel, Geoffrey Howe, said their role in the integration was complete. However, their departure will add to the feeling of desertion among ordinary Fleming staff.

While Mr Garrett and the others are believed to have made as much as £17m each out of the sale, it has been the more junior staff who did not have equity in the business who have borne the brunt of the job cuts pushed through by Chase since the takeover.

These have accelerated since Chase announced the takeover of JP Morgan, the Wall Street bank, for $36bn (£25bn) in September. JP Morgan has received most of the top jobs in the combined European operations reflecting its stronger market position in advisory and equity research.

The Flemings name has all but disappeared. Calls to the bank are met by the response "Chase Manhattan".

Although Lord Renwick, deputy chairman, Bernard Taylor, who had run investment banking alongside Mr Strutt and Paul Bateman, head of asset management, remain, few insiders expect them to stay for much longer.

Chase denied suggestions that the departures were intended as a protest at the fact that Fleming staff had come off worse in the share-out of top jobs. Mr Garrett was unavailable last night to respond to questions about the resignations.

In his memo, Mr Garrett said: "The process of integrating the Fleming businesses and governance structures with those of Chase has been successfully achieved on schedule. As a result of this, I shall be leaving the group at the end of December.

"With the completion of this integration, Henry Strutt, Simon Ball and Geoffrey Howe, all senior members of the board of Robert Fleming Holdings, will also be leaving over the next few months," it added.

Comments