The Business On... Helen Weir, Head of Lloyds' Retail

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The Independent Online

Ah, Helen Weir, one of the top women in British banking

Not for long. Mrs Weir is stepping down as Lloyds's head of retail banking. She and insurance boss Archie Kane are moving on in a board revamp set in train byLloyds's new chief executive,Antonio Horta-Osorio.



But he joined only last week...

Mr Horta-Osorio doesn't mess about. As one banking analyst put it yesterday: "The axeman cometh." So the story goes, Mrs Weir was offered another board job but decided to head for unspecified pastures new. Most Lloyds watchers have been expecting her to move on as the new boss brings in his own team.



What's the verdict on her record at Lloyds?

Mrs Weir joined as finance director from B&Q owner Kingfisher in 2004. Personable and ambitious, she was seen as a potential chief executive when she switched to head the retail bank in 2008. Her business more than tripled profits last year. On the other hand, Lloyds's record on customer complaints isn't great. And there was that appearance at the Treasury Committee.



What did the nasty MPs do to Helen?

The blow was self-inflicted. Mrs Weir insisted breezily that customers knew how much their current accounts cost in lost interest – "the same as a cup of coffee a week" – only to admit that she didn't know what her own account cost her. The committee chairman Andrew Tyrie damned this as a "ludicrous remark".



Poor Helen. What will she do next?

Not that poor. Her salary and bonus for 2009 were £1.8m and that could be repeated 2010. Lloyds says she will get no pay-off and will see out her six months' notice working on low-profile projects. After that, a move back to retail could be on the cards, or she might just fancy a break.



So much for getting more women in the boardroom...

At least they left the announcement until the day after International Women's Day.

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