Former Mastercard man Haythornthwaite takes over the chair at NatWest

Former Mastercard man Haythornthwaite takes over the chair at NatWest

Former Mastercard, Railsr and World Wide Web Foundation chairman Rick Haythornthwaite has taken over the chair at NatWest Bank as it bids to recover from the Nigel Farage debanking scandal.

Haythornthwaite, the current chairman of Ocado and the AA, will take over the hot seat on 15 April 2024, when current chairman Sir Howard Davies steps down.

The UK bank, which is 40% tax-payer owned, is looking to recover from a brutal run-in with newspapers and the Government over a decision by its private bank Coutts to remove Farage as a customer.

NatWest CEO Rose was forced to resign after it emerged that she briefed the BBC that Farage didn't have the cash to hand to merit an account at Coutts. She was followed out the door by Coutts' chief Peter Pavel, following the discovery of a document that appeared to indicate that Farage's account was frozen over his controversial political views.

Haythornthwaite is seen as a relatively safe pair of hands by the Governmnet, having previously overseen the takeover of VocaLink during his time at Mastercard.

However, he had a testing time more recently as chairman of distressed embedded banking firm Railsr, which was forced into a fire sale to a consortium of investors to stave off a complete collapse. Haythornthwaite will be relinquishing his ongoing role at Railsr prior to taking up his new position at NatWest,

Mark Seligman, senior independent director at NastWest, says: “Rick is a highly experienced Chair who combines a successful commercial career with a deep knowledge of financial services markets and technology, as well as a strong track record of delivery at significant customer-facing organisations.”

One of Haythorthwaite's first tasks at NatWest will be to find a replacement for Rose, whose role is currently being filled on a 12-month interim basis by the bank's comercial banking lead Paul Thwaite.

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