Office of ex RBS chief to house 80 entrepreneurs

Royal Bank of Scotland has transformed the executive wing of its headquarters near Edinburgh, synonymous with the excesses of former CEO Fred Goodwin, into a hub for start-up businesses, as part of the bailed-out bank’s bid to revive its reputation.

The bank, almost destroyed by an acquisition binge by Mr Goodwin in the run up to the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009, said the new centre, at Gogarburn, would bring together key Scottish business organisations and entrepreneurs to support economic growth.

RBS, which is 79%-owned by the British taxpayer, said last Thursday it would drastically shrink its investment operations to focus on lending to British households and businesses.

The centre will house staff from business organisations such as Entrepreneurial Scotland and The Princes Trust Scotland and up to 80 entrepreneurs, who will receive free office space and wifi as well as access to RBS staff and business mentors.

“We are opening up our headquarters so that we can support Scottish businesses of tomorrow, not just with infrastructure, but through the chance to collaborate with experts and other like minded business owners,” said CEO Ross McEwan.

RBS’s Gogarburn base, opened in 2005 at a cost of £350m, became a monument to its excesses under Goodwin prior to its £45bn government rescue.

Mr McEwan is seeking to rebuild the bank’s reputation as a champion of small business after it was dented by scandals.

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