Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Royal Goodbye: Royal Bank of Scotland is pushing out its chief executive, Stephen Hester, and cutting about 2,000 jobs as the bank's board tries to get ready to wean itself off the British government's 81% ownership stake. Hester has recently "clashed with [RBS Chairman Philip] Hampton and senior government officials over the bank's strategy," anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Hester is the sixth British big-bank CEO to get the ax since the financial crisis, the Journal notes, and consensus is that he's the least deserving. RBS shares fell 6% after the announcement. Lex says "shareholders have a lot to thank" him for, while Reuters' Felix Salmon noted an unusual outpouring of Twitter sympathy for Hester.
In what seems to us like a politely sadistic parting gift, the bank made Hester film his stiff upper lip in a video exit interview, which supplements his official goodbye letter to employees. Still, we can't feel all that bad for him; while the Journal points out that Hester repeatedly turned down part of his compensation, he leaves with several million pounds in the bank. New York Times, Financial Times, American Banker
Libor-Gate Update: The British Bankers' Association will "delay the publication of individual banks' borrowing rates in an effort to stop future rate-rigging Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that traders at some of the world's biggest banks also manipulated the even-less-euphonious WM/Reuters rates, benchmark foreign-exchange rates used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments. Regulators are investigating.
The Successors Are Restless: You'll pry Lloyd Blankfein's Goldman Sachs CEO job from his cold, dead, beard-trimming, celebrity-Oscar-party-attending fingers, the New York Times says in a profile of successor-in-waiting Gary Cohn. "Goldman's 52-year-old president is the Prince Charles of Wall Street, a man for whom the crown seems just beyond his grasp. Mr. Cohn is growing increasingly restless, according to friends and colleagues. Some inside Goldman wonder if he will depart if Mr. Blankfein doesn't move soon."
In other Goldman news, the investment bank is also lending up to $4.6 million to finance a childhood education program in Salt Lake City. Its financing partner is the Chicago investor J.B. Pritzker, whom you may also know as the brother of Commerce Secretary nominee Penny Pritzker and part of the family trust behind the failure of Superior Bank.
Wall Street Journal
British banks are bracing themselves for a 600-page report from the country's Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which is expected to touch upon the future of RBS and "will likely urge the government to further rein in the country's scandal-ridden banking industry."
"Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman is promising to increase profitability at the bank's wealth management business, two years after backing down on a pledge to achieve profit margins of 20 per cent."
New York Times
Jesse Eisinger's Dealbook column takes on the Corker-Warner bill to "gingerly" reform mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, warning that "the plan has commendable aspects. But if the system worked as advertised, it could make the next housing crisis worse." Here's an American Banker cheat sheet to the bill from last week.