NatWest boss steps down with immediate effect over Nigel Farage’s ‘inaccurate’ bank account leak
NatWest boss Dame Alison Rose has stepped down as chief executive effective with immediate effect after admitting to being the source of an inaccurate story about Nigel Farage’s bank account, which she leaked to a BBC journalist.
Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the NatWest Group, said on Wednesday (July 26) that the board and Dame Alison, who has held the role for four years, agreed by “mutual consent” that she would step down from her role.
In a statement, Dame Alison said: “I remain immensely proud of the progress the bank has made in supporting people, families and business across the UK, and building the foundations for sustainable growth.
“My NatWest colleagues are central to that success, and so I would like to personally thank them for all that they have done.”
Her resignation came as no surprise following briefings by Downing Street that she had lost the confidence of the prime minister and chancellor. Mr Farage also accused the management of Coutts bank - which is owned by NatWest - of a “serious breach” and called Dame Alison’s position “totally untenable”.
The scandal originally surfaced when the BBC falsely claimed that Mr Farage’s account had been cancelled because he didn’t meet Coutts’s financial requirements. Later, Mr Farage was able to get documents that proved his political affiliations and ideas had a role in the decision-making process.
Dame Alison told BBC business reporter Simon Jack that she thought it was well known that Mr Farage was a client of the private bank Coutts and had been offered a NatWest account.
Later, she admitted that she had made a “serious error of judgement,” but she emphasised that she had not participated in the decision-making process and that the bank had closed the account as a business decision.
Following apologies from Coutts and Dame Alison, the BBC apologised for the report on Monday (July 24).
The chief executive of Coutts, Peter Flavel, must bear “the ultimate responsibility for de-banking me based on my political views,” according to Mr Farage, who also demanded Dame Alison’s resignation.
He continued by saying that Sir Howard “is responsible for overall governance” and that by encouraging their behaviour, he had failed in this duty. He also said the resignation of Dame Alison is “a start” but the “whole Board needs to go”.