UK's Metro Bank names Robert Sharpe as Chairman

(Reuters) - British lender Metro Bank MTRO.L on Wednesday named veteran banker Robert Sharpe as Chairman to help steer the challenger bank through the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

Sharpe, who is currently the Chairman of Bank of Ireland UK, Hampshire Trust Bank and Honeycomb Investment Trust HONY.L, will take over from Michael Snyder, who held the role on an interim basis since October.

Sharpe was also previously chief executive of West Bromwich Building Society.

In May, Metro Bank warned that it was seeing “significantly higher” volumes of bad loans due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

Metro has been searching for a new chairman since founder Vernon Hill stepped down in October, following an accounting scandal last year that pummelled its stock price and led to an ongoing regulatory investigation.

Metro Bank shares, which dived 88% in 2019, moved higher after Wednesday’s announcement and were last up more than 4%.

Sharpe is expected to take up the role in November, subject to regulatory approval, the bank said in a statement.

The bank is due to publish half-year results on August 5.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru, editing by Iain Withers