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Former NatWest chief executive Alison Rose is set to forfeit the majority of the £10mn in outstanding pay she could have been due from the bank, after the conclusion of a review into her role in the scandal surrounding the closure of Nigel Farage’s accounts.
In a decision expected to be announced on Friday, the board of the lender will not grant Rose the “good leaver” status that would have entitled her to the full amount, two people familiar with the terms said. However, the bank, which counts the UK government as its largest shareholder, will say that the probe concluded there was no misconduct on Rose’s behalf.
This means that under the terms of her contract and notice period, Rose is entitled to receive her 2023 salary, pension and fixed-pay share allowance, which total more than £2mn, one of the people said. Some of her legal fees will also be covered.
She will nevertheless forfeit more than £5mn in deferred share awards given since she was named chief executive in 2019, as well as the majority of her potential £2.9mn annual bonus and long-term share awards, the person added.
NatWest and a spokesperson for Rose declined to comment. Sky News first reported the outlines and timing of the settlement.
Rose — one of the most high-profile female executives in the UK and who received a damehood in the 2023 honours list — stepped down by mutual consent in July amid a row over the “debanking” of Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence and Brexit parties.
Rose admitted unintentionally misleading a BBC reporter into writing a story that said NatWest’s private bank, Coutts, cut ties with Farage for purely commercial reasons and that the decision had nothing to do with his political views. She denied sharing confidential customer data and said she had incomplete information at the time.
Farage subsequently obtained and released a dossier of internal documents from Coutts that showed its reputational risk committee had accused him of “pandering to racists” and being a “disingenuous grifter”, which was “at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation”.
NatWest last month published an independent review by law firm Travers Smith that found that the decision to close Farage’s bank account was lawful and in line with its policies. It did, however, acknowledge that the bank had failed to communicate the decision properly and mishandled Farage’s complaint.
Continuing a chaotic series of events, late last month the Information Commissioner’s Office initially concluded Rose had inappropriately shared Farage’s personal data in an inaccurate way.
Two weeks later, the ICO was forced to apologise to Rose after conceding that it gave a misleading impression that she had breached data protection law, as well as failing to interview her during its probe or giving her the chance to comment on its findings.