Laura Powers-Freeling has quit her position as managing director of Lloyds TSB's wealth management operation to join Marks & Spencer as chief executive of the UK retailer's financial services division. Her departure comes a day after the bank appointed Eric Daniels, a former Citibanker and US national, to head up its retail banking operations.
Powers-Freeling is quitting the bank only a week after the launch of Create, Lloyds TSB's wealth management business. Create is aimed at the mass affluent, defined by Lloyds TSB as people earning more than £60,000 a year. Powers-Freeling was recruited to set up the business, but has been forced to scale back her original plans in response to the economic downturn.
Daniels joins the UK bank from Zona Financiera, a Latin American financial portal, which he joined last year as chairman and CEO. Prior to this he spent over twenty years at Citibank, including stints as regional head of consumer business in Europe and chief operating officer of the global consumer bank.
Daniels is the third executive to head up Lloyds TSB's retail division in two years, contributing to the growing sense of unease about the bank's ability to hold on to top staff. His appointment follows the departure of Dennis Holt to Axa UK in August, and the defection of Gordon Pell to Royal Bank of Scotland.
He arrives at the bank in the wake of its failed bid to acquire high street rival Abbey National and amid rumours of internal wrangling and disagreements over the strategic direction of Lloyds TSB's retail operations.
Daniels' international experience may be a source of comfort to the board as it goes on the acquisition trail in Europe and ahead of its forthcoming listing in the US.