TSB de­mands fe­male can­di­dates

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Lucy Bur­ton

TROU­BLED TSB has de­manded at least half the can­di­dates short­listed to re­place for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Pester are women as the bank­ing in­dus­try fights to hire more se­nior fe­male tal­ent.

Sources told The Sun­day Tele­graph that the em­bat­tled lender, which is try­ing to move on from a dis­as­trous IT melt­down ear­lier in the year, has briefed City head­hunter Odgers Berndt­son on its aim for an equal gen­der split. The bank al­ready re­quests gen­der-bal­anced short­lists else­where in the com­pany.

Ex­ter­nal can­di­dates widely tipped for the top job in­clude out­go­ing Vir­gin Money CEO Jayne-anne Gad­hia and Metro Bank’s boss Craig Don­ald­son. Mr Pester’s re­place­ment will be tasked with re­build­ing the lender’s rep­u­ta­tion af­ter a botched IT switch led to weeks of prob­lems for 1.9m cus­tomers.

Nicky Mor­gan, chair of the Trea­sury com­mit­tee, said Mr Pester had “set the tone for TSB’S com­pla­cent and mis­lead­ing” com­mu­ni­ca­tion dur­ing the cri­sis. In a let­ter to the com­mit­tee con­firm­ing Mr Pester’s de­par­ture last month, TSB chair­man Richard Med­dings then got Mrs Mor­gan’s name wrong – ad­dress­ing it “Dear Mor­gan” – and dated it Septem­ber 2019.

One City head­hunter said com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly ask­ing re­cruiters to draw up a bal­anced gen­der short­list of can­di­dates “or jus­tify why not, which gives them an out” amid pres­sure to di­ver­sify. A Govern­ment-backed re­view found ear­lier this year that bosses were us­ing “piti­ful and pa­tro­n­is­ing” ex­cuses to keep women out of the board­room.

Dame Inga Beale said in a re­cent in­ter­view that she was trolled when she be­came the first fe­male boss of Lloyd’s of Lon­don al­most five years ago. Ms Beale, who has now stood down from Lloyd’s, is viewed as a po­ten­tial suc­ces­sor to Aviva’s for­mer boss Mark Wil­son.

Sources said the in­surer has ap­pointed City re­cruiter Spencer Stu­art to find a re­place­ment for Mr Wil­son, who was pushed out last week.

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