July 5, 2017 / 9:45 AM / 4 months ago

Lloyds Bank shuffles management team ahead of 2018 strategy

LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) has reshuffled its senior management team, it said on Wednesday, as Britain’s biggest mortgage lender prepares for the next phase of its transformation into a leaner, low-risk bank.

A sign is seen outside a branch of Lloyds Bank in the City London February 3, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall

The changes include naming Juan Colombas to the new role of chief operating officer, giving Chief Financial Officer George Culmer oversight of the legal and strategy teams, and naming Zaka Mian as group director for transformation.

Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said the changes will help the bank pursue a strategy of being a simplified, low-risk lender focussed on the UK.

“The changes we are announcing today are fundamental to prepare the Group for the next phase of its transformation under our upcoming strategic plan for the period 2018 – 2020,” Horta-Osorio said in the announcement.

Lloyds, which nine years ago was bailed out in a 20 billion pound ($25.83 billion) rescue during the financial crisis, returned to full private ownership in May with the sale of the last of the government’s shares in the bank.

Horta-Osorio has faced repeated questions from analysts and investors in recent months over the timing of his departure after the lender reached that key milestone on the path to rehabilitation following its near-demise in 2008.

“There’s always more to do, and I am happy here,” Horta-Osorio told analysts on a conference call in April in response to questions about his future at the bank.

Along with the many changes to individuals’ responsibilities announced on Wednesday, the bank said it is creating a new, broader group executive committee.

The bank also announced some departures.

Andrew Bester, who ran Lloyds’ commercial division, and Simon Davies who was responsible for legal and strategy matters, are both leaving Lloyds.

Lloyds shares fell 0.5 percent by 1024 GMT, against a flat benchmark STOXX European bank index .SX7P.

Reporting by Lawrence White; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens

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