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RBS finance director Whittaker to resign

Guy Whittaker, the finance director at the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the only remaining top level board member still at bank following its government rescue, is set to leave.

The 70 per cent state-owned RBS will publish its first quarter results tomorrow, which will include details of Mr Whittaker’s departure. He is expected to remain as finance director until a newperson is appointed, which could take as long as six months.

RBS’s chief executive Stephen Hester is likely to heap praise on Mr Whittaker, with whom he has worked closely with since taking the job last November. Mr Whittaker’s departure is set to cause some controversy, however, as he will be entitled to a pay off under the terms of his contract.

Hewas one of the key executives at the bank in the run up to its near collapse last October and worked closely with the bank’s now widely discredited former chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin.

RBS has come under intense public scrutiny in recent months after it was revealed that Sir Fred is being paid a pension ofmore than £700,000 a year. The details of Mr Whittaker’s compensation are yet to be finalised, but it is understood that it will not come in the form of pension entitlements.

He joined RBS in February 2006 after spending 25 years working for theUSbanking group Citigroup. Last year, he earned £829,000 in salary and another £282,000 in lieu of his pension entitlement.

UKFI, the body set up to manage the government’s stake in RBS will almost certainly be consulted on the size of Mr Whittaker’s pay off.

MrWhittaker will be one of a number of senior managers to leave the bank as part of new boss Stephen Hester’s overhaul of the group’s boardroom.

Mr Hester was keen to keep a small part of Sir Fred’s team in place to help unravel the mess the bank found itself in following the onset of the banking crisis. According to sources, Mr Hester now feels more established at RBS and is keen to fill the bank’s top jobs with his own appointments. On Tuesday he is likely to caution against over optimistic forecasts that the recession has reached its nadir.

RBS’s shares have performed better in recent weeks. Despite an annual fall of 84 per cent, the stock is up 116 per cent in the last three months