Tesco Bank Says Chief Executive Higgins to Retire Next Year

  • Higgins to step down in February of 2018, had role since 2008
  • Bank says it has 6 million customers, $11 billion deposits

Tesco Bank, the lending arm of the U.K.’s biggest grocer, said Chief Executive Officer Benny Higgins plans to retire next year after almost 10 years in the role.

Higgins, who has led the bank since it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tesco Plc at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, will depart in February. He declined to comment on succession plans.

Ten years is a “very obvious time for me to embark on something else,” Higgins told reporters in London on Tuesday. “It’s a good time for the business to bring in fresh leadership from within or outside.”

Tesco Bank started off as a joint venture with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in 1997. Today it employs 4,000 people in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle and has about 6 million customers and 8.5 billion pounds ($11 billion) in deposits.

Although Tesco is seeking to curtail non-food operations after an accounting scandal, it’s still expanding into checking accounts, mortgages, personal loans and credit cards. Details of the CEO’s expenses were leaked to the Guardian newspaper last year, while the bank also suffered from a cyber attack.

Higgins, 56, said he will look for a last full-time job elsewhere before eventually moving into non-executive roles at several companies.

“I’ll be looking to do another project,” he said.

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