outts’ chief executive Peter Flavel, the boss of the private bank which closed Nigel Farage’s account, will step down immediately, NatWest Group has said.
It follows the departure of NatWest CEO Dame Alison Rose, early on Wednesday, after she admitted a “serious error of judgment” when she discussed Mr Farage’s relationship with private bank Coutts, owned by the NatWest Group, with BBC business editor Simon Jack, at a charity dinner.
In a statement, on Thursday, Paul Thwaite, the NatWest Group CEO said he had “agreed with Peter Flavel that he will step down as Coutts CEO and CEO of our Wealth Businesses by mutual consent with immediate effect”.
“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.
Mr Flavel said he was “exceptionally proud of my seven years at Coutts” and wanted to “thank the team that have built it into such a high performing business”.
“In the handling of Mr Farage’s case we have fallen below the bank’s high standards of personal service. As CEO of Coutts it is right that I bear ultimate responsibility for this, which is why I am stepping down.”
Mr Flavel is expected to be replaced by Mohammad Kamal Syed, who is currently the head of asset management at the bank, on an interim basis until a permanent successor is found.
Last week, Mr Farage presented evidence, in the form of a 40-page dossier, that his account at Coutts had been closed partly due to his political views conflicting with the bank’s values.
The evidence obtained from the bank through a data request contradicted a BBC News story, which initially claimed that the account closure was motivated by commercial reasons only, citing Mr Farage’s failure to meet a £1 million borrowing requirement.
The BBC and its business editor Simon Jack apologised, saying the reporting had been based on information from a “trusted and senior source” but “turned out to be incomplete and inaccurate”.
Mr Farage, a key architect of Brexit which many experts say has dealt a multi-billion-pound blow to Britain, had called for a wider shake-up of the NatWest board, including for its chairman Sir Howard Davies to quit, after it had voiced “full confidence” in Dame Alison on Tuesday evening.
He said on Wednesday: “Anybody on that board that backed that statement that was put out at 17.42 yesterday — a totally unsustainable statement — should be gone.”