Bank chief robbed of card at cash machine

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The chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland has discovered for himself the dangers of using cash machines.

In a scene with which many of his customers are familiar, Sir George Mathewson, who earns a reputed £2m a year salary and bonus package, had his card stolen by two men when he made a cash withdrawal in London.

Sir George was distracted by the thieves, who stood behind him as he withdrew money and told him he had dropped a £5 note, a spokeswoman for the bank said yesterday.

"He looked down but he realised it wasn't his because it was an English note and he only had Scottish notes. He said to them that it wasn't his but at that point one of them grabbed his card and ran off."

The spokeswoman added that Sir George had the "presence of mind" immediately to cancel his card. "No money was actually taken from him and no access gained to his bank account," she said.

"He acted very promptly and with presence of mind and phoned the police immediately and reported his card stolen. It was not a pleasant experience, but he is quite delighted it has become public as it does highlight how vigilant people need to be when they are withdrawing money from cash machines."

Earlier this year, Sir George, who played a central role in the Scottish bank's £20bn takeover of NatWest, became embroiled in a "fat cat" storm after he remarked that a £2.5m bonus to himself and three other directors would not "guarantee you bragging rights in a Soho wine bar".