Ex-HBOS chief Sir James Crosby gives up Knighthood after damning report

Former HBOS chief Sir James Crosby
Former HBOS chief Sir James Crosby Photo: Ben Curtis/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Former HBOS chief Sir James Crosby said today he would hand back his knighthood and almost a third of his pension in the wake of last week's scathing report into failures at the bank.

Sir James said in a statement that he was "deeply sorry" for what happened at the bank and that he intended to "ask the appropriate authorities" to remove his honour.

The move was prompted by a parliamentary report last Friday that concluded Sir James was the "architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster'' at the bank.

Sir James also announced today that he would give up his role as trustee of the charity Cancer Research UK.

ITV News' Economics Editor Richard Edgar reports:

In a statement released today, Sir James said that the parliamentary report made for "very chastening reading".

He said he was "deeply sorry for what happened at HBOS" and that he has "always tried to act with integrity and to the best of my abilities".

Regarding his pension, he said that he would forego 30% of his £580,000-a-year entitlement, built up over 30 years working in financial services. His decision will still leave him with an annual payout worth £406,000.

He added that he would enter into discussions about whether "the amount waived should go to support good causes, or benefit shareholders".

Sir James Crosby at his home near Harrogate
Sir James Crosby at his home near Harrogate Credit: John Giles/PA Wire

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards also singled out two other senior figures for blame: Former chairman Lord Stevenson and fellow chief executive Andy Hornby.

It claimed that is was the "toxic'' misjudgements of these three executives that led to the bank's downfall and the £20.5 billion taxpayer bailout.

They were accused of "catastrophic failures of management" and the commission even recommended that they should not be allowed to work in the financial sector again.

Sir James' decision follows disgraced ex-Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin being stripped of his knighthood last January. He later agreed to a pension cut after a public outcry.

Read: Where angels fear to tread: The failings of HBOS bankers

Former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin was stripped of his Knighthood last January
Former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin was stripped of his Knighthood last January Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

For Sir James' knighthood to be withdrawn, the Honours Forfeiture Committee has to make a recommendation to the Prime Minister, who then passes it on to the Queen for a decision.

The committee can look at cases where individuals are found guilty of criminal offences, or reprimanded by a regulator. However, it has scope to take into account other factors.

Previous cases include that of Anthony Blunt who had his knighthood removed in 1980 after being implicated in a spying ring. In 1918 Irish nationalist Roger Casement forfeited the same honour and was executed for treason.

A Cabinet Office source said tonight that if Sir James was to write to the Forfeiture Committee himself, "the committee would take that very seriously".