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Sir Colin rules out job on NatWest board

Sir Colin Southgate, the chairman of EMI and the Royal Opera House, has ruled himself out as a possible successor to Lord Alexander as chairman of NatWest. Weekend press reports had linked Sir Colin to the job, suggesting that he had been approached to become a non-executive director and then take over as non-executive chairman when Lord Alexander steps down next year.

However, it emerged last night that Sir Colin has decided not to join the board of NatWest. He was not available for comment but it is thought that he may have felt unable to give sufficient time to the job of chairing a large clearing bank given his other commitments.

Sir Colin is also a member of the Court of the Bank of England as well as chairman of Thorn and a director of Whitehead Mann, the headhunters.

Lord Alexander has been chairman of NatWest since 1989 and is due to retire from the post next summer or autumn. NatWest is looking for up to three new non-executives to strengthen the board, replacing directors who have either left or are expected to do so.

Other names linked with the chairmanship include Sir Andrew Large, former chairman of the Securities and Investments Board, Sir Clive Thompson, chairman of Rentokil-Initial and soon to be become president of the Confederation of British Industry, and Sir Nigel Rudd, who is presently a non-executive director of Barclays.

NatWest hopes to bring in new blood in time to announce some of the board changes alongside its preliminary results next month.