Lloyds chief apologises for marring bank's image

STAYING ON: Please be assured that I am as committed as ever to leading the group forward to deliver our strategy and to meet our future ambitions. - LLOYDS BANKING GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE ANTONIO HORTA-OSORIO
STAYING ON: Please be assured that I am as committed as ever to leading the group forward to deliver our strategy and to meet our future ambitions. - LLOYDS BANKING GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE ANTONIO HORTA-OSORIO

LONDON • Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio has apologised to staff for damaging the bank's reputation but said he intended to continue at the British lender, following press scrutiny of his private life.

In a memo to employees, Mr Horta-Osorio addressed a report by the The Sun newspaper earlier this month that said the married chief executive ran up a £3,826 (S$6,830) hotel bill while spending time with another woman.

"My personal life is obviously a private matter as it is for anyone else. But I deeply regret being the cause of so much adverse publicity and the damage that has been done to the group's reputation," he wrote in the memo on Wednesday.

The tabloid story alleged that Mr Horta-Osorio had improperly claimed the personal spending as a business expense, but the executive said in the memo the bank had cleared him of any wrongdoing regarding his expenses.

Lloyds has said its chairman, Mr Norman Blackwell, had reviewed the allegations and was also satisfied Mr Horta-Osorio had paid his own personal expenses while attending a Singapore conference.

The Lloyds chief executive, who is Portuguese, has run the bank for the past five years and is highly regarded for turning around the lender after it struggled following the financial crisis.

Top investors in the bank had expressed concerns Mr Horta-Osorio might leave sooner than anticipated following the press scrutiny.

"Please be assured that I am as committed as ever to leading the group forward to deliver our strategy and to meet our future ambitions," he said in the memo.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2016, with the headline 'Lloyds chief apologises for marring bank's image'. Print Edition | Subscribe