Abbey directors face shareholders

Directors of banking giant Abbey National faced a barrage of criticism yesterday from shareholders angry at the decision to sell out to Spain’s largest bank.

Investors jeered and heckled Abbey chairman Lord Burns as they questioned the €13bn acquisition by Santander Central Hispano (SCH).

In a fraught and lively meeting to approve the deal, members of the 800-strong audience applauded the suggestion that they should vote against the purchase.

Shareholder Richard Pout asked: “If you can’t communicate between London, Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Stockton, how are you going to deal with management in Spain?”

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