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Stephen Hester’s Nordic job is his least dramatic

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Stephen Hester, when CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), leaves its annual general meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland April 19, 2011.

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LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Stephen Hester likes a challenge. The former Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) banker took charge of Royal Bank of Scotland after its 2008 bailout. Later, he offloaded peripheral businesses at RSA and sold the insurer for 7 billion pounds . Last month he started as chair of easyJet (EZJ.L), the airline that’s raised capital twice during the pandemic and recently rejected a takeover bid .

His next gig looks less daunting. Nordea Bank (NDAFI.HE) on Friday unveiled the 61-year-old Brit as its next chair. It’s probably no coincidence that activist investor Cevian Capital, which owned shares in RSA, has a 5% stake in the $52 billion Helsinki-based lender. M&A is unlikely given the region’s concentrated banking markets. And the group probably met its 2022 financial targets a year early, UBS analysts reckon. Its new priorities are likely to involve maintaining revenue growth while keeping a lid on costs. Given Hester’s bulging portfolio of directorships, he’ll be grateful for an absence of Nordic drama. (By Liam Proud)

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Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and Karen Kwok

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