The Co-operative Bank has announced it is appointing Bob Dench as its new chair. Mr Dench, who comes from Paragon Banking Group, will be succeeding Dennis Holt on 14 March. Mr Holt has been leading the bank since October 2014 and is retiring in May.
While at the Paragon Banking Group, Bob Dench was involved in leading the organisation through the financial crisis as it reconfigured its business model and obtained its banking license. Prior to this he served on the boards of AXA UK and Ireland from 2004. He was a senior independent director of AXA UK until December 2016 and chair of AXA Ireland from 2007 to 2017. He also chaired AXA PPP Healthcare from 2013 to 2017.
Previously he had been with Barclays for 28 years, holding various senior executive roles in the UK, US and Australia.
The Co-op Bank underwent a major financial restructuring in 2013, which led to hedge funds owning a majority stake in the business. In September 2017 the Co-op Group sold its entire remaining 1% shareholding in the Bank to an existing shareholder for £5m. The bank is now owned by five hedge funds – BlueMountain Capital, Cyrus Capital Partners, GoldenTree Asset Management, Anchorage Capital, and Silver Point Capital.
Over the past four years the bank has undertaken three equity-raising processes. Last year investors provided a £633m rescue package, with creditors swapping their debt for equity, and this year the bank has announced further branch closures. A total of 27 branches will close in April and May 2018, leaving just one branch in Scotland (Glasgow) and four in Wales.