Pitman postpones his retirement: Lloyds chief executive will remain to see takeover through

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The Independent Online
BRIAN PITMAN, the banker behind Lloyds' pounds 1.8bn offer for Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society, is to stay on a further year as chief executive.

This emerged yesterday in a board reshuffle at Lloyds Bank that underlined Mr Pitman's determination to stay on and see the takeover through. He is to retire in December 1996 at 65, a year later than his last announced retirement date, and several years above the normal age at Lloyds.

The decision came as concern mounted in the City that the obstacles to the C&G bid were higher than at first believed.

On Tuesday - a day later than planned - the High Court begins public hearings of a case brought by C&G against the Building Societies Commission, which claims the deal breaks legislation governing the takeovers of societies.

It has also emerged that the Treasury may change the law to reinforce the hurdles in the way of society takeovers if the court does overturn the BSC's views, though it may not be able to stop Lloyds retrospectively.

In the City Mr Pitman's continued presence has been taken as an indication of the difficulty of finding a strong enough successor within the bank.

But a Lloyds spokeswoman said the board had asked Mr Pitman to stay, and he was 'enjoying himself so he said yes'. She rejected suggestions there was a shortage of alternatives and said Mr Pitman had remarked recently how many good people there were at the bank.

The board changes are the retirement of Michael Thompson, a deputy chairman, next year, and of John Davies, the deputy chief executive, on 31 October. He will become a deputy chairman when Mr Thompson goes.

Money, page 21