Co-operative Bank hires new CEO from Lloyds

FILE PHOTO: A sign hangs outside of a branch of The Co-operative Bank in London, Britain, February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Co-operative Bank on Monday named Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L executive Andrew Bester as its new CEO, as it strives to return to sustainable profitability following its $900 million rescue by U.S. hedge fund creditors last year.

Bester will replace Liam Coleman, who announced his resignation in June after less than 18 months in the job, having overseen the bank’s restructuring and recapitalisation.

Co-op Bank needed to be rescued after its capital base dipped to levels unacceptable to Britain’s financial regulators as it grappled with restructuring costs and weak income.

Bester was group director and chief executive of the commercial banking division at Lloyds, leading the transformation of that business since 2012, Co-op Bank said in a statement.

Co-op Bank Chairman Bob Dench said Bester was the right person to take the lender forward as it focuses on becoming a “sustainable profitable bank”.

“He is a first class business leader with the experience, drive and intellect required to lead the organisation forward at a key point in its turnaround journey,” Dench said.

Bester will take up a post on the board from Monday to begin the transition of responsibilities from Coleman.

“Over its recent history, the bank has been through a period of great change and uncertainty and I look forward to working with the teams to return the business to its former strength,” Bester said in a statement.

Prior to Lloyds, Bester held a number of roles at Standard Chartered STAN.L, including as chief operating officer for consumer banking.

Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Carolyn Cohn and Mark Potter