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Former HSBC executive takes helm of Co-op Bank

The Co-operative Bank's shares retreated Tuesday as the company announced the appointment of former HSBC banker Niall Booker as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The Co-operative Bank's shares retreated Tuesday as the company announced the appointment of former HSBC banker Niall Booker as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Booker will replace Barry Tootell, who left after a downgrade by Moody's forced the lender to deny it could need a government bailout.

The new boss, who is due to join on June 10th, said he will be focused on strengthening the firm's balance sheet and resolving underlying issues.

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In March, the Co-op bank reported 2012 losses of £674m, reflecting the costs of £150m to cover mis-sold payment protection insurance and £377m in bad property loans.

"There are no quick fixes here, but with the support of The Co-operative Group, our staff and our loyal customer base, I am confident we will be able to stabilise and develop the franchise," Booker said.

Booker was most recently CEO of HSBC North America and was with the bank for 30 years. He left HSBC in 2011.

Euan Sutherland, CEO of the wider Co-op group, said Booker was the ideal person to succeed Tootell as he brings a strong background in the banking sector in both retail and corporate.

"He clearly brings the strategic and operational skills that we need to help take the Bank to the next stage of its development," Sutherland said.

"The board and I are confident that Niall will add tremendous value, helping us work through the complex issues that we currently face as we work to re-position our bank."

The announcement came as the group's Chief Financial Officer, Steve Humes, quit amid mounting problems over a huge capital hole at the banking division.

Humes spent two years at the group overseeing finance across the organisation's range of services which also include funeral parlours, pharmacies, travel agencies and supermarkets.

RD

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