Ex-Natwest exec prepares to sue for payoff

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Dame Alison Rose, the former CEO of NatWest Group, is exploring the possibility of challenging the bank’s expected decision to cancel approximately £5.2 million in unvested share awards she was due to receive. This decision follows her forced resignation in July after acknowledging discussing Nigel Farage’s private banking arrangements with a BBC journalist. NatWest employees have been reported to have belittled Farage, which resulted in a review by the City watchdog.

While it’s unclear whether Dame Alison will formally challenge NatWest’s board if they decide to cancel her unvested shares, it’s one of the options she is likely to consider. The bank aims to resolve the issue before announcing its third-quarter results. Although the decision-making process could be prolonged due to legal complexities, it’s expected to be reached by the board in the coming days.

Dame Alison has been receiving her annual package of £2.4 million since her departure at the end of July, which comprises a base salary, pension contribution, and a share-based fixed-pay allowance. In addition to her annual bonus, she holds approximately 2.5 million unvested shares in NatWest, worth £5.19 million at the current share price. The government is expected to be consulted on the final terms of her exit package.

Dame Alison was forced to step down after inaccurately briefing a BBC journalist about the reasons for closing Nigel Farage’s accounts, suggesting that he did not meet the bank’s commercial criteria. However, it later emerged that his political views played a crucial role in the decision.

Her replacement on an interim basis is Paul Thwaite, the former head of NatWest’s commercial business. A report on the “exit process” for Farage and the disclosure of his banking information to the BBC has been submitted to the NatWest board, with a second phase of the probe examining the closure of Coutts accounts expected to be completed soon.