Mr McCrickard's abrupt early retirement at the age of 55 comes after two disastrous years for the TSB group, during which he has been among those under fire for the bank's performance, which led to losses of pounds 41m in 1991 after bad debts of more than pounds 650m.
The group made a profit in the latest half year, but the loss-making Hill Samuel merchant banking subsidiary is still holding back its performance.
He is to be succeeded by Peter Ellwood, chief executive of the high street banking and insurance offshoot, which has been providing the profits to offset the group's heavily loss-making forays into corporate lending. But Sir Nicholas Goodison, TSB chairman, strongly denied that Mr McCrickard was leaving because of the plunge into loss in 1991 or because of heavy bad debts at Hill Samuel, which has had an almost complete change of senior management. Former managers there have partly blamed the TSB group and Mr McCrickard.
Sir Nicholas said the departure was because Mr McCrickard's reorganisation of the group had phased out the job he occupied.
Mr McCrickard's salary is pounds 245,000 a year, he has a three-year rolling contract and was not due to retire until he reached 60. Sir Nicholas said settlement would be on contractual terms and pension rights would be preserved.
He added that there had been no boardroom row or intervention by the Bank of England, which had been informed, but no more.
He had discussed the matter with Mr McCrickard for the past six to eight months.
The formal resignation and departure yesterday after a board meeting was setting the seal on a lengthy process, Sir Nicholas said, in briefings aimed at countering suggestions that a renewed upheaval is under way at the TSB.
He paid tribute to Mr McCrickard's achievements in radically changing the management structure of the group, and reversing its direction from a broadly based financial services group to a business focused on banking and insurance.
Mr McCrickard had carried out these tasks with distinction, said Sir Nicholas.
But there were seven or eight reporting lines into head office which were being narrowed as the group focused on banking and insurance, which now accounted for most of the group. The head office is to remain in London. However, banking is run from Birmingham, which will be the 'operational epicentre,' Sir Nicholas said.
He added: 'There is a great imbalance in the organisation. A logical step is to have some fusing of top management and fusing of the line between head offices of the group.'
'Don McCrickard and I have come to the view that now is the best time.'
Mr McCrickard joined TSB in 1983 from American Express, and became chief executive in January 1990. Mr Ellwood joined from Barclays in 1989.
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