| LONDON, April 12
LONDON, April 12 Say sorry, give back some of
the money and become an adviser. Playing cricket and keeping a
low profile also seem to help.
These appear to be the best routes to rehabilitation or at
least a more peaceful life for bankers in Britain blamed and
shamed for bringing their companies to their knees.
Matt Ridley, disgraced in 2007 as the former chairman of
collapsed bank Northern Rock, has returned to a successful
career as a science writer.
In his 2010 book "The Rational Optimist", Ridley argued that
by working together humans are wealthier, healthier, happier and
more peaceful than ever before.
That did not appear to be the case in October 2007, when
Ridley, now 55, turned his back on finance after Northern Rock
needed emergency funds, resigning three days after a humiliating
grilling by members of parliament who exposed his lack of
Even though he had sat on Northern Rock's board for 13
years, following his father, the aristocratic Viscount Ridley
was better known as an author whose books have sold in their
hundreds of thousands.
It is not proving so easy for others to shake off their past
in the banking crisis, however, especially given the level of
public distaste for a profession widely held to be guilty of
badly damaging the economy and continuing to act with
Former HBOS chief executive James Crosby this week gave up
his knighthood -- awarded for services to the financial industry
-- and nearly a third of his pension after a scathing report
from a parliamentary committee that denounced the bank's former
bosses for a "colossal failure" of management.
Politicians have called for more disgraced bankers to follow
Crosby's example and hand back some of their pensions, or to be
banned from ever working in financial services again.
Andy Hornby, who replaced Crosby as HBOS chief executive in
2006 and has a pension from the bank worth 240,000 pounds
($370,000) a year when he retires, returned to his roots in the
retail sector after the collapse of HBOS.
He has run two major companies, both owned by private equity
firms, which typically attract less attention, and is currently
chief executive of bookmaking chain Coral, which this week
backed him and said he is doing a good job.
Dennis Stevenson, the former HBOS chairman also blamed for
the bank's demise, was made a life peer in 1999. He can fall
back on his duties in Britain's upper chamber of parliament, the
House of Lords.
The bosses of other British banks that hit trouble in 2007
and 2008 have had mixed fortunes, but almost all have kept a low
Former bankers contacted by Reuters for this article refused
to speak on the record, indicating perhaps a recognition that
rehabilitation may require a period of silence on their part.
Playing village cricket was a release for Adam Applegarth
when he was vilified as the architect of Northern Rock's
disastrous lending binge and collapse.
Applegarth was hired as an adviser by U.S. private equity
firm Apollo Management in 2009. He set up a property management
business near his home in Newcastle, northern England, according
to media reports at the time.
Former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Fred
Goodwin is also rarely seen after becoming the lightning rod for
"banker bashing" after walking away with a big pension. While he
was in exile in France, his Edinburgh home was vandalized.
In 2009 Goodwin agreed to cut his pension to 342,500 pounds
a year from more than 700,000 pounds, but that did little to
take the sting from criticism and in January last year Goodwin
was stripped of his knighthood, which had been awarded for
services to banking.
Architecture firm RMJM appointed Goodwin an adviser in 2010,
but politicians urged public bodies to shun the firm.
Tom McKillop, the former boss of AstraZeneca, was
chairman of RBS when the bank got into trouble and was also
forced to step down as a director of BP as criticism
built that he was a scientist with no banking qualifications and
had not stood up to Goodwin.
Goodwin and McKillop show another risk former executives
face -- they were last week sued by shareholders for losses the
investors claim they incurred when RBS needed rescuing.
Johnny Cameron, RBS's former investment banking chief, was
banned in May 2010 by the financial regulator from taking a
significant job in the City, but later that year he was allowed
to take on a part-time advisory role at corporate finance
boutique Gleacher Shacklock. Cameron said his ban was
"appropriate" for his role in RBS's crisis.
CONTACTS AND EXPERIENCE
Eric Daniels, who stepped down as chief executive of Lloyds
Banking Group in 2011, has also gone down the adviser
route, taking on roles with buyout group CVC Capital Partners
and investment banking boutique StormHarbour.
Firms says former executives can offer contacts and
experience and are free from management responsibilities.
Lloyds has been urged to claw back some of Daniels' bonuses
amid mounting losses related to his takeover of HBOS in 2009 and
compensation for customers mis-sold insurance in the past.
Politicians last year said former chairman Victor Blank
should be stripped of his knighthood. But Blank's honour was
awarded in 1999, long before his period as Lloyds chairman
between 2006 and 2009.
Blank is the patron of numerous charities and has said that
in order to rebuild trust the financial sector needs to give
more. The highlight of his fundraising is an annual cricket
match at his Oxfordshire manor house that is estimated to raise
250,000 pounds a year.
Among senior executives at smaller lenders Bradford &
Bingley (B&B) and Alliance & Leicester (A&L) in the run up to
their problems in 2008, former B&B CEO Steven Crawshaw became
chairman of the advisory board of Bradford University School of
Management and A&L CEO David Bennett is chairman of Homeserve
Membership Ltd, part of British home emergency services firm
One man has found work clearing up the mess. Richard Pym,
who left A&L in July 2007 after five years as chief executive,
is now chairman of UK Asset Resolution, the state's holding
company running down the loans of Northern Rock and Bradford &
A former banker, who declined to be named, said putting all
the blame on individuals missed the bigger picture.
"There's still too much attempt to believe it was all down
to individual wrongdoing ... as opposed to systemic mispricing
of money and risk," he said.
Others disagree. Members of the parliamentary commission
which looked into the demise of HBOS said this week that
regulators must impose tougher sanctions on those who run failed
banks, making them personally responsible for their actions.