The Business On... Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief executive, Virgin Money

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The Independent Online

The Consumer Champion?

That's what Ms Gadhia would have you believe Virign Money is all about, and the Treasury Select Committee certainly bought the line. Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond walked into a bear pit when he appeared a week ago, but the honourable members appear to have had their claws clipped. Yesterday they were more like tabby cats. Ms Gadhia had them eating out of her hands.



What, all of them, even David Ruffley?

Even David Ruffley, the committee's erstwhile Tory rottweiler. Fortunately Labour's John Mann didn't buy the honeyed words, noting that there is nothing to say that the new entrants into banking will be any better than the existing lot. He accused Ms Gadhia of trying to cherry-pick wealthy customers from the South of England while being less than interested in his largely working-class constituents in the North.



Ooh, what did she say to that?

Ms Gadhia denied it, of course, pointing to Virgin's 2.5 million customers across Britain. Virgin wants to reach all of them in whatever way they choose – telephone, internet or one of Virgin's new branches. Who knows, there might even be one in Mr Mann's Bassetlaw constituency. Eventually. But don't hold your breath.



So is she just the same as the other lot?

Well, she's very charming (as was quite clear from yesterday's show) which is pretty unusual for a banker, although she has a reputation in the business for being as hard as nails. She's married with a daughter and is not averse to holding business meetings either at her home or those of colleagues.



Always been a banker?

No, she trained as an accountant with big four firm Ernst & Young after a history degree followed by an MBA. She's also done time in insurance, for Norwich Union, which now trades under the Aviva moniker. But she's done plenty of time in banking too.



And where'd she do that then? A daring new entrant?

Erm, Royal Bank of Scotland.

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