Paul Flowers — the Methodist minister filmed allegedly buying drugs — beat experienced bankers to the post of chairman of the Co-operative Bank because he scored highest on psychometric tests, it emerged today.
Asked by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee if he knew why Flowers had beaten him to the job, banking veteran Rodney Baker-Bates said: "I was told afterwards he did very well on the psychometric tests.”
Baker-Bates was made deputy chairman — along with former Prudential executive David Davies — to support Flowers, who had almost no banking experience. Baker-Bates had previously been chairman of Britannia Building Society, with which Co-op had merged.
He said his own interview for the job did not even cover banking: "It focused on my knowledge of the Co-operative group and movement. I don’t remember much discussion of my banking experience."
Davies said: "I have to say the psychometric testing did surprise me. Paul was a clear winner. When I looked at the scores I was concerned about a couple."
Both men said they left the board because they were opposed to the plan to merge with Verde, the 600 branch-strong business Co-op was trying to buy from Lloyds.
The deal collapsed and it emerged that watchdogs had identified a £1.2 billion hole in Co-op bank’s balance sheet.