Antonio Horta-Osorio, CEO of Lloyds Bank, told staff of his regret for being the source of “adverse publicity” that could damage the bank’s reputation, following media reports of his extra-marital affair.
Earlier this month, the Lloyds boss was photographed with Wendy Piatt, a former advisor to Tony Blair, on a business trip to Singapore.
The memo, seen by Business Insider, was sent to 75,000 Lloyds employees after Horta-Osorio returned to work this week.
The Lloyds boss told staff that he paid for any personal expenses incurred, saying: “As you’d expect, I pay for my personal expenses whilst away and only reclaim what is a business expense.”
Horta-Osorio, who has led the bank since 2011, said he was committed to seeing out his future with the lender.
The Lloyds CEO has garnered praise for stabilising the lender, boosting dividends and helping to reduce the government’s stake from 40% to 9%.
But he’s in a difficult spot. Last month the Lloyds boss warned that a “deceleration” of UK economic growth “seems likely” in the bank’s second quarter results statement, cutting 3,000 jobs and closing 200 branches.
Here’s the full memo:
“Having returned to work I wanted to use the opportunity to address the recent media coverage of my private life.
As you may have read, my expenses were reviewed in light of speculation by certain newspapers and the Group has confirmed that they are fully compliant. As you’d expect, I pay for my personal expenses whilst away and only reclaim what is a business expense.
My personal life is obviously a private matter as it is for anyone else. But I deeply regret being the cause of so much adverse publicity and the damage that has been done to the Group’s reputation. It has detracted from the great work which you do for our customers on a daily basis and from the major accomplishments of the past five years. This includes the Government shareholding having reduced from over 40% to around 9% with over £16 billion plus dividends having been returned to taxpayers.
More broadly I have been a strong advocate of expecting the highest professional standards from everyone at the bank, and that includes me. I will continue to strive to meet those standards. Having the highest professional standards raises the bar against which we are judged and as I have always said we must recognise that mistakes will be made. I don’t expect anyone to get everything right all the time. The important point being how we learn from those mistakes and the decisions and actions we take afterward.
As we look forward, it is your hard work over the last five years returning the Group to financial health that means we are best placed among our peers to continue supporting the UK economy and to help Britain prosper. We chose to focus on helping the UK economy — in particular through our support for first time buyers, small businesses and UK corporates — and as a result by choice, our future is inextricably linked with the future success of the UK economy.
The extended period of low interest rates that we now face has created uncertainties for the UK economy and new challenges for the Group. And as a UK focused bank we are not immune to the factors likely to shape the UK economic outlook, but I believe we will be well positioned to meet them.
With that in mind please be assured that I am as committed as ever to leading the Group forward to deliver our strategy and to meet our future ambitions. Thank you again for your messages of support over the last few weeks. I have greatly appreciated them.”
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