Dame Alison Rose has stepped down as CEO of NatWest after backlash over her handling of the closure of Nigel Farage’s account with private bank Coutts.
Criticism from the former UKIP leader was elevated after the NatWest Chief spoke to the BBC, in which she cited commercial factors as the reasons behind the bank’s decision.
Nonetheless, the story has since been changed and the reasons for Farage’s account being closed were given as the banking giant not wanting to be aligned with his political beliefs.
Rose was also heavily criticised for briefing BBC journalists over Farage’s finances prior to the broadcaster releasing a story on why they claimed Farage’s bank account was shut, in a move that was seen as a significant breach of privacy.
The decision saw NatWest dragged into something of a culture war as the unfolding story dominated headlines within right wing media for weeks.
Farage hasn’t halted his criticism of the bank – calling for the whole of the board to depart off back of the decision.
NatWest Chairman, Sir Howard Davies, issued the following statement after Alison’s departure: “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.”
The move from NatWest prompted criticism from the government, with the Treasury even taking steps to change the rules about account closures.
Minister Andrew Griffith took to Twitter to respond to the decision of the NatWest CEO departing, as he described it as the right move.
He added: “This would never have happened if NatWest had not taken it upon itself to withdraw a bank account due to someone’s lawful political views. That was and is always unacceptable.
“I hope the whole financial sector learns from this incident. Its role is to serve customers well and fairly – not to tell them how or what to think.”
Rose also stated: “I remain immensely proud of the progress the bank has made in supporting people, families and business across the UK, and building the foundations for sustainable growth.”