Former Co-op Group chief Peter Marks refuses to take blame on bank crisis
Tuesday 22 October 2013
The former chief executive of the Co-op Group today blamed successive bosses of the Co-op Bank for its near-collapse even though he sat on the board of the lender.
Peter Marks, who stepped down earlier this year, told MPs: “The architects of the merger with the Britannia Building Society were David Anderson and Neville Richardson. If we had had a crystal ball we would not have done the merger.
“We do all have to take some responsibility but I was not approved by the Financial Services Authority to run a bank. I was a non-executive director.”
Marks, who repeatedly appeared flustered by MPs’ questions and comments, was appearing before the Treasury Select Committee to answer questions over the collapse of Co-op Bank’s £750 million attempt to buy 632 branches from Lloyds Banking Group, known as Project Verde.
He described himself as “one of the main drivers of the Verde deal” and said he still believed that it would have brought the Co-op Bank extra capital, extra management and a good IT system.
He said that he had warned the Co-op Group board that it was overstretching its management “trying to be a major food retailer, a major bank, a major funeral business and a major pharmacist”. But he added that as chief executive he was not on the board of the group and could only “try and persuade them on strategy”.
Marks said that although he would have taken responsibility if Co-op’s takeover of rival supermarket group Somerfield had gone wrong he would not do the same over the bank.
“I cannot take responsibility for something I was not in direct control of, namely the bank,” he added.
He also caused raised eyebrows among MPs when he said he could not recall a meeting with Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio late last year when Lloyds said it had doubts over Co-op’s capital.
Although Marks admitted that the effective takeover of Co-op Bank by two American hedge funds was a “tragedy” he argued “it could be a good thing” because it would force Co-op Group to focus on the right things and concentrate on its capital.
Former Co-op Bank chief executive Neville Richardson blamed the lender’s problems on the way it had managed its loans following his departure when he made his appearance before MPs.
That contradicted the view of Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority, who said the bank’s problems stemmed from its takeover of the Britannia, which had been run by Richardson.
The Bank of England took the highly unusual step after Richardson gave evidence of issuing a statement saying it “strongly disagreed” with his view of events.
Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Nelson Mandela: From 'terrorist' to tea with the Queen
UK weather: People urged to remain vigilant as high tides and strong winds continue through the night
Nelson Mandela death: his life in pictures
- 1 Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 4 Australian ultra-nationalist politician Stephanie Banister in car crash immigration TV interview
- 5 Nelson Mandela: From 'terrorist' to tea with the Queen
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£150 - £250 per day: Cornwallis Elt : iPhone Rollout- Blackberry Enginee...
£55000 - £70000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: A well-known and renowned in...
£450 - £500 per hour: Cornwallis Elt : Business Analyst Finance System Hy...
£400 - £550 per day: Cornwallis Elt : BUSINESS ANALYST- OPERATIONS- PRIVATE B...