NatWest Chief Executive Dame Alison Rose resigned on Wednesday morning, the latest shocking step in a five-week scandal sparked by Nigel Farage’s attempted debanking. The Brexit leader has stated that the entire NatWest board of directors should resign next.
Despite NatWest’s board of directors declaring it had complete trust in its CEO to continue after she admitted to disclosing private information about Mr Brexit Nigel Farage to the UK state broadcaster, she resigned this morning.
The development is yet another scalp for Mr Farage, possibly establishing a new law in English public life that betting against Mr Farage may be fatal to career advancement, as previous Prime Ministers David Cameron and Theresa May discovered.
Dame Alison Rose admitted on Tuesday night that she made a “serious error of judgement” in discussing Nigel Farage, a customer of a NatWest group bank, with BBC journalist Simon Jack, but claimed that she had only inadvertently given the journalist the impression that the decision to close Mr Farage’s accounts was solely a commercial one.
The admission answered the long-standing question of who in the bank briefed the BBC against Farage, and piled on calls for those guilty to quit not only from Farage, but also from within government.
Nevertheless, the bank’s chairman Sir Howard Davies responded to that statement with one of his own that the decision would possibly impact the chief executive’s “renumeration” at a later date, but that nevertheless the board still had “full confidence” in her position as CEO, calling her an “outstanding leader”.
This changed overnight, with NatWest chairman Sir Howard revealing on Wednesday morning that “The board and Alison Rose have agreed, by mutual consent, that she will step down as CEO of the NatWest Group. It is a sad moment. She has dedicated all her working life so far to NatWest and will leave many colleagues who respect and admire her.”
Farage told his broadcaster GBNews on Wednesday morning: “…it was the board that sanctioned this culture. A culture that talks about diversity and inclusion, but actually is very divisive, and in my case — as you can clearly see — is pretty poisonous stuff. I think any board member that endorsed that statement last night, which said that she breached confidentiality but she can stay? Frankly, I think the whole board needs to go.”
Farage also decried Rose’s claims that she wasn’t aware of what was going on at her bank and didn’t agree with what was said about Mr Farage in the bank’s internal document, saying that it was in fact her that pushed to introduce the new culture at the bank, transforming NatWest from a finance house to a “moral arbiter, virtually a political organisation”.