Coutts' CEO Peter Flavel to step down over Nigel Farage bank account row

CEO Peter Flavel Credit: NatWest Group

Coutts’ chief executive Peter Flavel, the boss of the private bank which closed Nigel Farage’s account, will step down immediately, NatWest Group has said.

The banking giant has continued to face pressure amid the row over the closure of Farage’s Coutts account.

The former Ukip leader has pledged to keep on campaigning amid a political furore over the closure of bank accounts and freedom of speech, resulting in the exit of NatWest boss Dame Alison Rose this week.

After his departure was announced, Mr Flavel said: “I am exceptionally proud of my seven years at Coutts and I want to thank the team that have built it into such a high performing business.

The row came after Mr Farage made allegations about his account with Coutts. Credit: PA

“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.”

The NatWest Group website says he joined as CEO in 2016.

“It was only a matter of time before Peter Flavel, Coutts CEO, stood down,” Farage tweeted.

“The ultimate responsibility for the dossier de-banking me for my political views lies with him.

“I even wrote to Mr Flavel twice before going public and didn’t receive an acknowledgment.”

“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.”

Dame Alison Rose stepped down as chief executive of NatWest. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister said his Government was taking “tough action” to protect the free speech of banking customers as he stressed the issue was about more than just Farage.

The Treasury expressed their “serious concerns” about Dame Alison's conduct.

She had admitted a “serious error of judgment” by discussing with a BBC journalist Mr Farage’s relationship with Coutts, owned by the NatWest Group.

Mr Farage has demanded the resignation of the entire NatWest board and for a “cultural change” within the industry.

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