Who is Peter Flavel? Coutts CEO who lost his job over Nigel Farage banking row

Natwest CEO Dame Alison Rose’s resignation ‘not enough’ says former UKIP leader as he calls on whole board to quit

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Thursday 27 July 2023 14:19 BST
Nigel Farage calls on entire NatWest board to resign after Alison Rose quits

Coutts’ chief executive is to step down, the second senior executive at NatWest Group to depart after Nigel Farage’s private bank account was closed.

Peter Flavel follows NatWest boss Dame Alison Rose, who resigned earlier this week after admitting she was the source of an inaccurate story about Mr Farage‘s finances.

The resignations follow days of pressure on the banking group’s leadership following a dispute over whether Mr Farage‘s bank account at prestigious private bank Coutts was closed because of his political views.

Below we look at everything we know about Mr Flavel as the row claims another scalp.

Who is Peter Flavel?

Peter Flavel is the CEO of Natwest-owned Coutts

Australian-born Peter Flavel, 63, is the chief executive officer of Coutts.

A Harvard Business School alumni and Oxford graduate, he joined Coutts in 2016 as the first non-British CEO in over 300 hundred years of the bank’s history. A father of three, his salary is estimated to be around £910,00, according to The Telegraph.

He is also vice-Chair of Trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh Commonwealth Study Conference and a member of the Philanthropy Advisory Committee of the Royal Albert Hall.

Where did he work before?

Mr Flavel has more than 30 years of experience in financial services across Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

Before joining Coutts, he was the CEO of J.P Morgan Private Wealth Management in Asia Pacific based in Singapore. He also spent nine years with Standard Chartered in Asia and founded their global Private Bank in 2006.

The CEO has been credited for a boost in Coutt’s performance since he joined seven years ago.

“Peter’s passion for innovation across banking, lending and wealth management and raising the bar on service standards has led to a market-leading net promoter score from Coutts’ clients,” his NatWest Group profile says.

“He has revived Coutts’ branding and image to be more warm and modern, whilst taking pride in its history, encouraging clients to recognise that Coutts is ‘more than a bank’.”

What has Nigel Farage said about him?

Nigel Farage is calling for the resignation of the whole Natwest board

Mr Farage called Mr Flavel out several times as the row grew, accusing him of being “asleep at the wheel”.

Claiming Mr Flavel repeatedly refused to respond to letters, earlier this week Mr Farage said the Coutts boss’s position was “unsustainable”.

Speaking to The Independent onTuesday, Mr Farage said: “I wrote to him twice before it went public, and once since.

“So three times, I have reached out to the CEO and not even been given the courtesy of a response. Frankly, that is just disgusting. He is totally incompetent, does he care? Has he been in hiding?”

Mr Farage said “big, highly paid jobs” such as running Coutts “come with responsibility”. And he added that he warned Mr Flavel he would go public about the closure of his account, but claims he continued to be ignored.

Dame Alison Rose resigned after admitting to making a ‘serious error of judgement’ over BBC leak

He added that “none of it”, from the departure of Dame Alison to the £650m hit to NatWest’s shares on Wednesday morning, would have happened if Mr Flavel responded.

When the news Dame Alison Rose quit as head of Natwest broke on Wednesday morning, Mr Farage called for the whole board to resign.

He said: “So, she’s gone, and that’s a start, but I have to say that (Coutts chief executive) Peter Flavel ... (NatWest chair) Howard Davies ... it was the board that sanctioned this culture that talks about diversity and inclusion, and actually is very divisive.

“In my case, as you can clearly see, pretty poisonous stuff. I think any board member that endorsed that statement last night, where they said ‘yes, she breached confidentiality, but she can stay in her post’... frankly, I think the whole board needs to go.”

What has Peter Flavel said?

After his departure as chief executive was announced on Thursday afternoon, Mr Flavel said: “I am exceptionally proud of my seven years at Coutts and I want to thank the team that have built it into such a high performing business.

“In the handling of Mr Farage’s case we have fallen below the bank’s high standards of personal service.

“As CEO of Coutts it is right that I bear ultimate responsibility for this, which is why I am stepping down.”

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