Royal Bank of Scotland shareholders have criticised the appointment of Sir Fred Goodwin by the architectural firm RMJM in Edinburgh. The consultancy role will be his first job since leaving RBS after the government bailed it out 15 months ago.
Roger Lawson, from the RBS Shareholder Action Group, said it was “ironic” Sir Fred got a job when others were losing theirs in the recession the banks made…
Michael Connarty, Labour MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, said it was a “very odd appointment”.
Sir Fred, who was born in Paisley, was in charge at the bank for nine years and steered it from being a bit-part player to one of the top five in the world. He built up the bank with numerous acquisitions but the problems started when RBS bought the Dutch bank ABN Amro at the height of the boom in 2007.
Mr Lawson’s shareholder group is pursuing a legal claim against RBS for its £12bn rights issue in May 2008. That RBS share sale for 200p per share was made five months before the near collapse of the bank and its rescue by taxpayers. The bank is now 83% controlled by the UK government, with shares having collapsed by 95% since their high point in 2007.
Sir Fred retired from RBS in September 2008, aged 50, with a controversial pension of £700,000 per year – a figure which has been subsequently reduced.
Mr Lawson said: “It’s ironic that he’s managed to get a job when others are being let go – and in a recession which banks are responsible for. One must question whether the folks who are hiring him are prudent – given that his reputation will precede him everywhere he goes.”
Sir Fred – dubbed “Fred the Shred” – has been appointed as a senior adviser with architectural practice RMJM, where he began work just before Christmas. It was involved in designing the controversial Scottish Parliament building, though the current management had no involvement in that project…
Mr Connarty said: “People wonder what he knew about banking and will now wonder what he knows about building.”
The Labour MP added: “There is a deep irony that one the architects of RBS’s downfall is now working for the architects involved in the Holyrood building fiasco.”
- BBC News