NatWest Group appoints new Coutts chief executive after Nigel Farage debanking row

NatWest Group appoints new Coutts chief executive after Nigel Farage debanking row

NatWest said 'lessons need to be learned' in December 2023

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 08/02/2024

- 11:58

Updated: 08/02/2024

- 12:47

Former Coutts chief executive Peter Flavel resigned in July 2023

NatWest Group has announced a UBS executive will head up its wealth division, including Coutts, after its previous boss stepped down following last year’s debanking scandal.

Emma Crystal will be appointed as the new CEO of NatWest Group’s Wealth Businesses, including Coutts, subject to regulatory approval.

Ms Crystal, currently the head of sustainable finance at UBS, will join in the summer.

Coutts’ former chief Peter Flavel resigned in July 2023 after admitting Coutts had “fallen below the bank’s high standards of personal service” in how it handled the account of former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

NatWest and Coutts bank logos

NatWest Group has announced plans to appoint a new Coutts chief executive


It came after NatWest’s chief executive at the time, Dame Alison Rose, resigned.

Ms Crystal will report directly to NatWest Group CEO Paul Thwaite and will be a member of the Executive Committee of NatWest Holdings, as well as sitting on the Coutts Board as Coutts CEO.

Ms Crystal said she was "delighted" to be joining the group and leading the wealth businesses.

She added: “In Coutts we have one of the strongest Private Banking brands in the market and as part of the wider Group we are uniquely placed to support clients with their full range of banking, lending and wealth management needs.

“I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues to deliver the exceptional service our clients deserve.”

Chief Executive, Paul Thwaite, said: “Emma’s extensive Wealth Management experience and deep client focus make her the ideal person to lead our Wealth Businesses at this time.

“The UK Wealth Management market is large and growing and Emma’s proven ability to work across organisational boundaries will be invaluable in helping us deliver an outstanding client experience and achieve our growth ambitions.”

Coutts Chairman, Lord Remnant added: “Emma has all the qualities needed to take Coutts forward. Her knowledge and understanding of clients combined with her commercial experience make her the ideal person to help Coutts write the next chapter in our history.

\u200bDame Alison Rose, former NatWest chief executive

Dame Alison Rose, former NatWest chief executive, resigned following the debunking row


“I would like to welcome Emma, on behalf of the Coutts Board, and am very much looking forward to working with her.”

Nigel Farage, who was the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) said his Coutts account was closed because the bank didn't agree with his political views.

Dame Alison Rose later admitted to making a "serious error of judgement" by discussing Mr Farage's case with a BBC journalist.

In December 2023, an independent review commissioned by NatWest found there was no evidence of discrimination because of political views in Coutts' decision to close customer accounts.

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