Coutts CEO becomes second senior NatWest Group official to quit over Nigel Farage banking row

27 July 2023, 14:34 | Updated: 27 July 2023, 16:12

Coutts CEO Peter Flavel (L) and Nigel Farage (R)
Coutts CEO Peter Flavel (L) and Nigel Farage (R). Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Coutts CEO Peter Flavel is to step down from his role amid an ongoing row over the closure of Nigel Farage's private bank account.

"I have agreed with Peter Flavel that he will step down as Coutts CEO and CEO of our wealth businesses by mutual consent with immediate effect," the new NatWest Group chief executive Paul Thwaite said on Thursday.

"Whilst I will be personally sorry to lose Peter as a colleague, I believe this is the right decision for Coutts and the wider group.

"I have asked Mohammad Kamal Syed to step into the role of interim CEO of Coutts and our wealth businesses.

"Mo has extensive wealth management experience and is the ideal person to lead Coutts through this difficult time as we begin the search for Peter's replacement."

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage. Picture: Alamy

It comes after Dame Alison Rose, CEO of the NatWest Group, quit amid the row.

Ms Rose admitted making "a serious error of judgment" by talking about politician Mr Farage's bank account at Coutts, which is part of the wider group.

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In a statement released early on Wednesday morning, NatWest Group chairman Sir Howard Davies said: "The Board and Alison Rose have agreed, by mutual consent, that she will step down as CEO of the NatWest Group. It is a sad moment.

"She has dedicated all her working life so far to NatWest and will leave many colleagues who respect and admire her."

Pressure has been growing on the rest of the NatWest Group after Mr Farage called on all of them to resign.

Coutts Banking
Coutts Banking. Picture: Getty

The row broke out after Mr Farage presented a 40-page dossier showing that his Coutts account had been closed partly due to his political views conflicting with the bank's values.

Mr Farage was a key driving force behind the UK leaving the European Union, and has repeatedly called for lower immigration.

The evidence, which he got from the bank itself through a data request, contradicted a BBC News story that said Mr Farage's account was closed because he didn't meet the £1 million threshold to bank with Coutts.