Lloyds Banking Group insiders believe its chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio, will return after Christmas, following leave for stress.
Mr Horta-Osorio shocked the market on Wednesday with the announcement that he was taking up to eight weeks off, leading to widespread speculation that a return was untenable.
A senior banking source said the board expected him to return, though they admitted that such a return "has never really been seen before".
Acting boss Tim Tookey will face the market as Lloyds announces its third-quarter results on Tuesday. He must also lead the sale of 630 branches, a condition of its bailout during the crisis.
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