Sir George Matthewson, chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, has reiterated his support for chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin, after rumors began to circulate that the latter had become disillusioned at the bank and was preparing to leave.
Mr Matthewson said he was surprised by the rumors, which stated that Mr Goodwin was annoyed at recent criticism over his growth strategy and the poor performance of the group’s shares. Mr Matthewson went on to say that the bank’s growth strategy was fully endorsed by the board and talk of departures was wide of the mark.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that many of the bank’s recent acquisitions of been met with unease by investors. The acquisition of Churchill insurance and Charter One, as well as plans to spend $1 billion on a 10% stake in the Bank of China have prompted nervous murmurs. This, compounded with the fact that RBS shares are trading at the same levels they were in 2001, has prompted speculation over Mr Goodwin’s departure.
Despite this, profits have doubled since 2001 and Mr Goodwin is credited with masterminding the bank’s rise to fifth largest in the world.