Coutts’ chief executive resigns with immediate effect over Nigel Farage row

Thursday 27 July 2023

Coutts’ chief executive Peter Flavel, the boss of the private bank which closed Nigel Farage’s account, will step down immediately, NatWest Group has said.

NatWest has in crisis mode after the resignation of boss Dame Alison Rose who admitted discussing Mr Farage’s relationship with Coutts, owned by NatWest Group, with a BBC journalist.

Dame Alison announced her resignation hours after the NatWest board announced said it had "full confidence" in her.

The crisis has shown little sign of abating after Mr Farage called for the entire board of NatWest to resign.

Calls for Mr Flavel to stand down have been growing since Dame Alison's resignation.

After the BBC's report on 4 July, Mr Farage served a subject access request on Coutts under the General Data Protection Regulation which gave it one month to disclose a copy of the data it held on him.

The bank subsequently provided Mr Farage with a 40-page document looking at his suitability as a customer including minutes from a meeting in November.

The document raised concerns he was "xenophobic and racist" and highlighted the reputational risk of having him as a client.

Rishi Sunak said that his Government was taking “tough action” to protect the free speech of banking customers as he stressed the issue was about more than just Nigel Farage.

Mr Farage has demanded the resignation of the entire NatWest board and for a “cultural change” within the industry.

Ministers have not so far backed those calls, with some senior opposition MPs also questioning the appropriateness of the role played by No 10 in the exit of Dame Alison.