Metro Bank announced the official departure of its founding chairman Vernon Hill this week. After quitting as chairman in October, Hill is now also stepping down as non-executive director ahead of the 31 December 2019 date put in place by the bank for the end of his tenure.
Just two months after Hill left his position as chairman, the bank’s CEO Craig Donaldson also announced he would be leaving the bank at the end of this year.
Both men joined the retail bank in 2010 at its ideation, but after a tough year which kicked off with an accounting error that saw £900 million-worth of loans misclassified as less risky than they were, the bank suffered a staggering 89% loss off its market share value.
Donaldson said he offered to resign earlier this year following the accounting scandal, but that the board fully supported him to continue in his post. He will remain available to the bank’s board as an advisor until the end of 2020.
Despite saying he would “probably die” before leaving Metro Bank in an interview according to the BBC, Hill has now sealed his exit from the firm. He leaves the bank at the end of a turbulent year, nevertheless it is still overwhelmingly popular with its customers.
Metro Bank scored joint top position with First Direct in the official bank customer rankings in August 2019, with 82% of both banks’ individual British customers saying they would recommend the banks to their family and friends.
The American billionaire and former owner of a string of Burger King chains also leaves after suspicious links between the bank and his wife’s architecture business InterArch. Hill fed more than £21 million to Shirley Hill’s firm, only to be greeted with potential rebellion from shareholders last year which eventually led to the bank cutting ties with InterArch in May 2019.
Metro Bank’s senior independent director Sir Michael Snyder says Hill ultimately agreed that the bank “has now reached a point where an independent chairperson is appropriate to oversee the next stage” of the retail bank’s journey.
As for Donaldson, he called 2019 a “challenging year”, concluding that in the absence of him and Hill he is “confident that the board and the many dedicated teams within Metro Bank will enable this bank to prosper again”.
Donaldson will be replaced by Dan Frumkin, who has spent just three months at the bank. Frumkin will take over as the interim CEO.