Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 16:30 UK

Top Boots job for ex-HBOS chief

Andy Hornby
Mr Hornby was apologetic for his role in HBOS's near collapse.

The UK High Street's biggest chemist chain, Alliance Boots, has confirmed former HBOS boss Andy Hornby as its new chief executive.

Mr Hornby, in charge of HBOS at the time of the bank's near-collapse last autumn, will start work with the firm from July.

Before moving to HBOS he spent time in senior posts at supermarket giant Asda.

Boots and Alliance Unichem merged in 2006 to form Alliance Boots, later taken over by private equity firm KKR.

Alliance Boots is Europe's largest wholesale and retail player in the pharmaceutical industry and employs 115,000 people.

It is currently run by the Italian billionaire Stefano Pessina, who holds the post of executive chairman.

Mr Hornby is a non-executive director of Home Retail Group, which owns Argos and Homebase.

He led led HBOS up to the end of 2008 when the company posted banking losses of £11bn - before being swallowed up by rivals Lloyds TSB.

Mr Hornby had been the youngest-ever boss of a main British bank when he became HBOS chief executive three years ago.

Earlier this year told MPs he was "sorry" for the near-demise of HBOS.

Readers of the BBC News website expressed scepticism in e-mails about the appointment.

"Boots just lost my custom. What are they thinking?!" said Jo Ventham, from Hungerford.

And Alan Chester, in Kathmandu, Nepal said: "Failure rewarded yet again."

"Let us hope for their sakes and all ours that they have no plans to branch out into finance," said Simon G, in London.

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