November 21, 2018
Business

MPs ignite row with directors over call for Paul Pester’s resignation

The influential Treasury Select Committee today said it has "lost confidence" in TSB chief executive Paul Pester, heaping pressure on him following a heavily criticised response to the bank's IT meltdown.

In a letter to TSB chairman Richard Meddings, committee chair Nicky Morgan said the bank should consider removing Pester as the head of the bank "as a matter of urgency".

Pester had irked MPs with his responses during a hearing last month on the crisis. He was then criticised by the head of the Financial Conduct Authority, Andrew Bailey, for "poor communication" and an overly optimistic assessment of the bank's service status.

Read more: Top City watchdog Bailey criticises TSB and boss Pester after IT meltdown

The letter states: "The committee considers that the TSB Board should give serious consideration as to whether Dr Pester's position as chief executive of TSB is sustainable.

The Committee has lost confidence in his ability to provide a full and frank assessment of the problems at TSB, and to deal with them in the best interests of its customers.

"It is concerned that, if he continues in his position, this could damage trust not only in TSB, but in the retail banking sector as a whole. I ask that the Board consider the Committees view as a matter of urgency."

Chair of the committee Nicky Morgan criticised TSB's public communications for being "complacent and misleading.

"This tone has been set from the top – by Paul Pester – and whether intentionally or not, he has not been straight with the Committee and TSB customers," she said.

"Dr Pester's statements that 'everything is running smoothly for the vast majority of our customers' and that 'there will be no barriers' to customers switching accounts, and his denial that there were problems on TSBs fraud reporting line, are all examples of this."

Pester has faced a grilling from MPs over the crisis, which saw the bank's systems crash, leaving consumers and small businesses unable to access their accounts.

Problems started in late April when TSB migrated its computer systems from previous owner Lloyds Banking Group to Spanish bank Sabadell, which acquired it in 2015.

TSB has been contacted for comment

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