Andrew Bester to leave the Co-operative Bank

The Bank is now on the search for a new CEO

Co-operative Bank CEO Andrew Bester is stepping down as chief executive after two years at the helm of the organisation.

After joining the bank in July 2018 Mr Bester focused on a transformation programme that included separation of IT systems from the Co-op Group, digitising, reenergising the brand and improving customer satisfaction.

He said that as the Bank is entering the next stage of its turnaround, he felt this was the right moment for new leadership and a new personal challenge.

He added: “It’s been a real privilege to lead an organisation with such a distinct brand, clear purpose and values and I’m so proud of the work of all colleagues to both deliver our strategy and to make a difference to the communities around us. I‘m delighted that, despite the challenging environment we currently all face, we are supporting our customers through these difficult times and seeing positive growth in balances and new customer numbers.

“My ambition was to complete the major transformation phase of the turnaround and for our franchise to show resilience. At this point, I believe the Bank is on the right path and it is time for a new CEO to continue the journey to be the digital ethical bank. In the meantime I remain focused on working with colleagues to provide the support our customers need.”

In June the bank reported a half-yearly underlying loss of £33.9m for the first six months of 2020 compared to £2.3m during the same period in 2019. The results were affected by a £12 million hit from Covid-19.

Co-operative Bank chair Bob Dench said: “I would like to thank Andrew for his dedicated leadership since taking up the position of chief executive officer. We appointed Andrew for his significant expertise in delivering major transformation programmes and he has ensured that we have successfully completed the ‘fixing the basics’ phase of our turnaround. The progress made provides the foundations for the Bank to grow and to build a successful future.”

“Over recent months Andrew has worked tirelessly to navigate through the national crisis we all face and to support our customers through the pandemic. I thank him for the support he has provided during this unprecedented period and we wish him all the best for the future.”

The Bank has begun the process to find a successor for Mr Bester, who will remain in the post until the process is complete.