Lloyds may appoint woman as next chairman as Bischoff seeks exit

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The starting pistol was fired on the race to find the next chairman of Lloyds Banking Group yesterday as the current chairman, Sir Win Bischoff, 72, said he wanted to retire no later than next year's annual meeting.

Sir Win was drafted into the taxpayer-rescued bank in July 2009, and took over from Sir Victor Blank later that year.

His successor will have the tricky task of returning Lloyds fully to the private sector, with the Government keen to sell the 39 per cent stake it took after the £20bn bailout in 2009.

Possible candidates include Paul Tucker, a deputy governor of the Bank of England, and Bill Winters, a former JPMorgan banker and member of the Independent Commission on Banking. But the new chairman could be the first female at the top of a high-street UK bank. Sir Win has been a strong supporter of the 30 per cent Club, which aims to get more women on companies' boards, and has appointed three to Lloyds' 10-strong board. Female candidates could include Ann Godbehere, a former finance director of Northern Rock after its privatisation, and Anita Frew, a Scottish financier who is a non-executive at Lloyds.

Ann Godbehere or Anita Frew may take the chair at Lloyds