Former Lloyds boss knighted after turning around bank’s fortunes

Antonio Horta-Osorio revived the bank during his decade at the helm and has also become an advocate for mental health at work.

Antonio Horta-Osorio
Antonio Horta-Osorio

The former boss of Lloyds Banking Group who steered the lending giant back into private ownership after its financial crisis bailout has received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Antonio Horta-Osorio is recognised for his services to the financial sector, as well as his voluntary work for mental healthcare and culture.

The Portuguese banker, who left Lloyds in April to join Swiss giant Credit Suisse as its new chairman, has won widespread praise for his stewardship of Lloyds from near collapse back to rude health.

Annual dinner to Bankers and Merchants
Former Bank of England governor Lord Mervyn King has praised Mr Horta-Osorio for reviving Lloyds (Lewis Whyld/PA)

Last year, former Bank of England governor Lord Mervyn King, who headed the central bank at the time of the financial crisis, said Mr Horta-Osorio had turned Lloyds “from a liability to the taxpayer into an asset for the country”.

When Mr Horta-Osorio took over at Lloyds in early 2011 after previously headed up Santander’s UK arm, the bank was on its knees after its £20.3 billion taxpayer bail out at the height of the financial crisis following an ill-fated rescue of rival HBOS.

He was also left to deal with the payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling scandal, which ended up costing Lloyds a mammoth £22 billion.

But in his decade at the helm, he helped the Government unwind the stake it took in Lloyds during the financial crisis, while also returning the group to healthy profit growth.

The Lisbon-born 57-year old, who has British citizenship, bowed out from Lloyds in April with a £2.1 billion first quarter profits haul.

It came after a 72% profits tumble in 2020 after putting by vast sums for loans that could turn sour in the pandemic, but the first quarter figures showed the bank is already bouncing back from the crisis.

Once Britain’s best-paid banking boss, Mr Horta-Osorio has also been knighted for his work shining a light on mental health issues.

He has become an advocate for mental health at work after himself suffering from stress-related exhaustion barely six months after taking on the top job at Lloyds, which saw him sent to the Priory to recover and take several months’ leave.

He said on leaving Lloyds last month that “those were very bad times”, but he came back with a renewed vigour to turn the bank’s fortunes around and said one the biggest highlights of his tenure was when the Treasury sold its final stake in the bank in 2017.

Under his guidance, Lloyds now supports the Mental Health UK charity, while it has also ensured help is available for staff experiencing stress and anxiety.

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