Hester: Goodwin 'not the only cook in the RBS kitchen'

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The Independent Online

Royal Bank of Scotland's chief executive, Stephen Hester, yesterday stood up for his predecessor, Fred Goodwin, saying of the man who presided over the bank's near collapse: "There were many cooks in that particular kitchen and Fred is not the only one."

Mr Hester told The Andrew Marr Show he thought Mr Goodwin, who was stripped of his knighthood for his role in leading the bank near to failure, was a victim of "over-demonisation in British public life". He said: "I think that we have to understand that the recession of 2008 was global. It was caused by many mistakes in many sectors of the economy – in fact by economic mismanagement as well as by banking mismanagement... I don't have anything against Fred."

He said the 82 per cent of RBS owned by the taxpayer would stay in public hands for "quite a few years".

After waiving a near-£1 million bonus last month in the face of huge public criticism, Mr Hester voiced some misgivings about his role. "I hate the public exposure," he said.