Bank wages war

Could the small matter of pay be behind the delay in filling the GC role at TSB?

Knock knock. Who’s there? Not a general counsel at TSB, that’s for sure. The bank split from parent group Lloyds last Monday in what was one of Britain’s biggest banking shake-ups, but behind the curtain the general counsel spot is still waiting to be filled.

According to insiders, the empty seat is not empty because nobody wants it. 

A number of in-house lawyers at Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) – still the technical owner of TSB until a buyer is found – are keen to transfer to the standalone bank, our sources say. The delay in finding someone is more down to the seniority of the role, with those considering the job likely to already be raking in a fair whack. As is so often the case, sources
say, the main issue is pay.

But let’s play the same game at the portals of LBG. Knock knock. Who’s there? This time, we don’t just have one – or even two – senior lawyers opening the door. Following an internal promotion the lucky whatsits appear to have three at general counsel status. LBG’s two most senior lawyers, group general counsel Andrew Whittaker and deputy Kate Cheetham, are effectively sharing the top job, with Hugh Pugsley, the bank’s former head of corporate and M&A, promoted to Cheetham’s old job as general counsel for group legal.

With general counsel job-sharing over at LBG it seems odd that the love has not spread to the open post at TSB. 

“Recruitment for TSB’s general counsel is under way and the process is ongoing – we are unable to provide further information at this time,” insists an LBG spokesperson, careful not to give much away. “At present, TSB remains part of Lloyds Banking Group and therefore receives the full support of the group as one of our brands.

“When fully divested TSB Bank will be a standalone competitor, and will therefore require the full range of skilled colleagues necessary to run a successful bank.” 

We know it’s a cliché, but watch this space.