Co-op Bank names Bob Dench as new chairman

Manchester-based Co-operative Bank plc said it will appoint Bob Dench as chairman effective March 14, 2018, succeeding Dennis Holt who is retiring in May 2018.

Dench has had a long career in banking and has been chair of Paragon Banking Group plc since 2007, having joined its board in 2004.

“He chaired Paragon through the financial crisis and oversaw a reconfiguring of the business model as Paragon obtained its banking licence,” said Co-operative Bank.

“He will remain in his role at Paragon until a successor has been appointed.”

A self-styled ethical bank, the Co-operative Bank last June agreed a complex £700 million rescue package with its major investors to shore up its capital base.

The Co-operative Bank has been hit by a number of scandals in recent years and had to be rescued by a group of hedge funds in 2013.

Previously, Dench served on the boards of AXA UK and Ireland from 2004 as senior independent director of AXA UK until December 2016 and chair of AXA Ireland from 2007 to 2017. He was also chair of AXA PPP Healthcare Limited from 2013 to 2017.

Prior to that, Dench spent 28 years at Barclays in a number of senior executive roles across the group in the UK, US and Australia.

Holt said: “The Co-operative Bank has been through challenging times in the past four years as it has worked hard to fix the legacy issues that led to the crisis it faced in late 2013.

“It now has solid foundations and a clear pathway to sustainable profitability and robust capital resilience.

“It has been a privilege to work to achieve our customers’ distinctive requirements of a bank committed to values and ethics at the heart of all it does.

“I’m immensely grateful for the commitment of our colleagues and the support of fellow directors, the executive team and our investors.”

Co-operative Bank CEO Liam Coleman said: “We look forward to welcoming Bob to The Co-operative Bank as chairman as we move forward following the recapitalisation.

“There is much to do in order to continue to build a sustainable and profitable ethical banking franchise, and his significant board and industry experience will be invaluable as we take forward our plans.

“On behalf of the board and everyone at The Co-operative Bank, we thank Dennis for his tremendous contribution as chairman over the last three years.

“His energy, commitment and leadership have enabled the bank to successfully navigate a challenging period, culminating in the successful completion of the recapitalisation in September 2017.

“I would also like to express my personal thanks to Dennis for his support during my first year as CEO. We wish him a very enjoyable retirement.”

Dench said: “I am delighted to be appointed chairman of The Co-operative Bank as it enters the next stage of its development and I look forward to working with Liam and the board to deliver the strategy.”