Royal Bank of Scotland shareholders last night joined politicians in condemning Sir Fred "the Shred" Goodwin's return to employment, more than a year after he had been cast into comfortable retirement when his institution received an emergency bail-out from the Government.
Roger Lawson, from the RBS Shareholder Action Group, said it was "ironic" that Sir Fred had found a job when others were losing theirs in the recession sparked by the financial traumas experienced by the high street banks.
He also questioned the judgement of the Edinburgh architectural firm RMJM in employing Sir Fred, after his reputation had been damaged by the collapse of RBS and the subsequent furore over his multimillion-pound pension pot. The bitter response followed criticism from a number of Scottish politicians over Sir Fred's return to the spotlight, 15 months after he retired from RBS, aged 50, with a pension of £700,000 per year – a figure that has subsequently been reduced.
Michael Connarty, Labour MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, said the appointment was "odd", while Margo MacDonald, independent MSP for the Lothians, said she felt "faint disgust".
Sir Fred will be based in Edinburgh but will spend the vast majority of his time overseas. He will not have a place on the RMJM board, but will sit on the firm's senior advisory panel.