RBS chief in America tipped for a Kerry administration

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The Independent Online

Larry Fish, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland's Citizens arm in the US, could become a member of the US government if John Kerry wins the presidential election next Tuesday, according to banking sources in New York.

There is speculation that Mr Fish would leave Citizens to take up a position as deputy Treasury secretary if the Democrats form the next administration. Mr Fish is a Democrat supporter and has known Mr Kerry for a long time. Much of Citizens' business is in Massachusetts, where Mr Kerry is a senator.

Mr Fish has made personal donations to Mr Kerry's campaign, while Citizens donated $1m (£547,000) to a fund for promoting business opportunities when the Democrats held their political convention in Boston this summer.

RBS would not comment on the political ambitions of Mr Fish, who has been with Citizens since 1992 and is also a director of the Scottish bank, earning £1.86m last year.

Mr Fish has increased the size of Citizens 25-fold since he joined and was given responsibility for the Cleveland-based bank Charter One, which RBS bought this year for $10.5bn. He is a familiar face in Washington, where he is a member of the board of the Brookings Institution, a consultancy.

Mr Fish's departure would be a blow to the RBS, which has expanded to become one of America's 10 largest banks.

Mr Kerry has surrounded himself with economic advisers from the administration of Bill Clinton, who could make up other members of his team if he prevails on 2 November.

Leading candidates for the top job at the Treasury include Roger Altman, Mr Kerry's main economic adviser, and Jim Johnson, the co-head of the team who led Mr Kerry's search for a running mate.

Jostling between candidates is continuing, and Mr Kerry has not yet made any firm decisions about his chosen line-up. Some sources said there had not been any formal talks between Mr Kerry's camp and Mr Fish.

Laura Tyson, the dean of London Business School and a former adviser to Mr Clinton, is also seen as a strong contender for a cabinet post.

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