Ant�nio Horta-Os�rio promises better mortgage products and better rates for savers as he radically reorganises Halifax board
Halifax is to be revitalised by offering higher savings rates and competitive mortgage products following a boardroom shake-up by new Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Ant�nio Horta-Os�rio.
The departure of Helen Weir, head of retail banking, and the retirement of Archie Kane, who ran the insurance arm, is allowing Horta-Os�rio to take more direct control of the consumer arm of the bank, which risks being broken up by the independent commission later this year.
Weir, who had been regarded as a candidate to replace former boss Eric Daniels, and Kane are potentially entitled to around �1.7m and �1.6m each. However, no agreement has yet been reached on how long they will stay, which could ultimately determine how much they receive.
The bank, which is more than 40% owned by the taxpayer, was created when the Labour government overrode competition concerns during the 2008 banking crisis to allow Lloyds to rescue HBOS.
The independent commission, chaired by Sir John Vickers, is to publish an interim report on 11 April that will be scrutinised for signals about whether the commission believes the merger should be undone.
Since the rescue, Halifax, which used to boast about "eating the big four's lunch", has not been regarded as a major competitor while HSBC, and its online bank First Direct, along with Santander, have been more aggressive.
The boardroom shake-out by Horta-Os�rio, who has been described by Ian Gordon, banks analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, as "the axe man", means that Weir's former role is split into three. Retail products and marketing is to led by Antonio Lorenzo, whom Horta-Os�rio brought with him from Santander, while Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland is to be run by Joy Griffiths. David Nicholson will run the Halifax bank.
Kane's job is also being split between Phil Loney, who will run life, and Andy Briggs, who will run general insurance until he departs for Friends Provident.
This leaves just three executive directors on the board: Horta-Os�rio; finance director Tim Tookey; and wholesale boss Truett Tate. It means that Sir Win Bischoff, the chairman who has backed a campaign that 30% of boardroom directors should be women, is running a board without any female executive directors and only one non-executive - Anita Frew.
The bank's former advertising agency, DLKW Lowe, which created the "Howard" singing bank manager ads and the current ones involving a fictional radio station, was replaced last month by Adam & Eve.