Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

'Sensitivity' pledge on bank jobs

Susan Rice
Susan Rice says she sees an enormous opportunity in the merger

The newly appointed Scotland boss of the merged Lloyds bank said there were no immediate plans to cut jobs.

However, Susan Rice insisted that any future decisions on the issue would show "sensitivity" to all staff in the whole of the organisation.

The American-born businesswoman made her comments on the day she was appointed managing director of the Lloyds Banking Group in Scotland.

Her role came into being after Lloyds TSB agreed a takeover deal of HBOS.

Aberdeen-based Ms Rice spent eight years as chief executive of Lloyds TSB Scotland and her current appointment is likely to give her a vital role in the future of the Bank of Scotland, where she used to work.

Rated as Scotland's leading businesswoman, Ms Rice will also have responsibility for a financial giant that controls about half of all Scottish corporate banking.

One of her first tasks will be to manage the rationalisation of staff caused by the merger of the two banks.

Speaking on Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Ms Rice said: "The next step will be to look at the organisation going forward and look at how we might bring the banking business together.

"Whatever we do we will be cognisant and sensitive to the interest of individual members of staff at both organisations.

"There are no plans right now [on future staffing], we still have to look ahead and make those plans."

She said restructuring plans would take two to three years to come to fruition.

Ms Rice added: "Integration takes a long time, and a lot of people move on, there is attrition and people decide to retire and so forth.

"What we do know now is we will maintain the largest branch network in Scotland, we will be the biggest bank in Scotland."

Susan has transformed Lloyds TSB Scotland in the eight years she has led the business

Archie Kane
Lloyds Banking Group

She said that on the banking side of the business, the Bank of Scotland would be one of Scotland's main brands and on insurance, the "iconic" Scottish Widows would be a brand which would remain in Scotland.

Ms Rice's former colleague at Scottish Widows, Archie Kane, was given board-level responsibility for the Scottish operations of the new Lloyds Banking Group.

Mr Kane, who appointed Ms Rice to the new role, said: "We are very focused on integrating the two businesses over the next two to three years.

"Susan has transformed Lloyds TSB Scotland in the eight years she has led the business, and I am delighted that she will play such a significant role in the continued development of our group presence in Scotland."

Ms Rice said she recognised the enormous responsibility of her new role, but also its potential for great opportunity.

She added: "We do not underestimate the tremendous effort which will be required and we are determined to bring together the best of both organisations and earn our place as one of Scotland's leading companies."

Ms Rice joined Lloyds TSB Scotland as chief executive in September 2000 taking on the additional role of chairman in May 2008.

Prior to joining Lloyds TSB, she held a number of roles with Bank of Scotland including head of branch banking and later managing director of personal banking.

She is a senior independent director of Scottish and Southern Energy plc and a non-executive director on the Court of the Bank of England.

Her husband is Prof C Duncan Rice, principal at the University of Aberdeen.

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