New boss tipped for B&B

The former boss of Alliance & Leicester has been lined up as the new chief executive of embattled lender Bradford & Bingley, it was reported today.

The former boss of Alliance & Leicester has been lined up as the new chief executive of embattled lender Bradford & Bingley, it was reported today.

Richard Pym’s appointment could be announced tomorrow, the Sunday Telegraph said, ending a three month search for a new boss.

He will replace Steven Crawshaw who quit as chief executive in June due to ill-health. Chairman Rod Kent has been in charge since.

A spokeswoman for B&B declined to comment on the report. “When we have found somebody we will make a statement,” she said.

Mr Pym, who retired from A&L in July last year after 15 years at the bank, would be expected to draw a line under a difficult few months for the buy-to-let mortgage specialist.

They have included slumping profits, a series of botched fund raising attempts that resulted in an enlarged £400m (€508m) rights issue, and several failed takeover bids for the company.

The closing date for the rights issue passed on Friday, with most shareholders expected to have declined to take part. But the take-up is thought to have beaten that of the recent HBOS rights issue, which had just 8.29% support.

B&B had been seeking to mobilise its 850,000-strong army of private investors - a legacy of its 2000 demutualisation – to back the rights issue and buy shares.

But the 55p-a-share offer has been hampered by the lender’s tumbling share price, which has been lower than 55p for much of the past few weeks.

The fund raising scheme was restructured twice after B&B announced in May it was raising £300m (€381m).

A month later the lender said it had decided to sell a 23% stake in the firm to US private equity group Texas Pacific. But the private equity firm later backed out forcing it to go back to shareholders for the £400m (€508m) of funds.

The bank has been hit hard by the credit crunch, suffering rising arrears and more expensive funding costs. Its shares have lost around three-quarters of their value since the start of the year.

Mr Pym is a respected City figure, and currently chairman of Halfords. He has previously held senior positions at British Gas, BAT Industries and The Burton Group.

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