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Metro Bank can’t wait to get Vernon Hill out the door. His exit from the challenger bank he founded gets quicker by the day.

At the start of this year, Mr Hill said he would “probably die” at the lender. Then he agreed to step down as chairman but refused to take a back seat. Three weeks ago he agreed to go as both chairman and board member, but not until the end of the year. Now he is out as chairman with immediate effect. He stays as a non-executive director until the end of December.

Mr Hill has been given the “honorary position of Emeritus Chairman”. Metro is at pains to make it plain that the title does not indicate a future role for Mr Hill at the bank. The title merely “recognise[s] Vernon's extraordinary contribution to Metro Bank”. Shareholders need not fear he is making a comeback — quite the opposite.

Sir Michael Snyder, Metropolitan Grand Master of the London Freemasons and City grandee, has been appointed interim chairman with immediate effect (but also subject to regulatory approval — which sounds rather less immediate). In a not-at-all-disingenuous statement Mr Hill wishes all of the company’s “fans” every success. He says the best is yet to come. But all that remains is for his final exit from the boardroom to be accelerated too.


The collapse of PR firm Bell Pottinger continues to haunt its partners. They have been forced to return almost half a million pounds in profits received before the business collapsed, our accounting correspondent reports. Administrators BDO have pursued an “aggressive” strategy that has left some London-based ex-partners grumbling that they are on the hook for the fallout of a scandal in South Africa. Not everyone is willing to pay up, however.

Pity the poor advisers. Just as they thought the hard graft on the Just Eat-Takeaway.com takeover was done (scheme documents to implement were published on Tuesday), in comes South Africa’s Naspers to spoil the party. The tech conglomerate’s Dutch-listed vehicle Prosus launched a £4.9bn hostile offer for Just Eat on Tuesday morning, which was rebuffed by the end of the day. There are £19m in financial advisory fees at stake for BofA and Lazard if Takeaway doesn’t get to swallow its UK rival.

British Steel’s fate looks to be in the balance once again. Thursday marks the end of the 10-week exclusivity period granted to Turkey’s military pension scheme to come up with a deal to save the steelmaker. A sale out of insolvency has currently been blocked by suppliers refusing to accept price cuts, according to people with knowledge of the process. But there is also some squeamishness over handing a strategic British industrial asset to an investment group linked to the Turkish armed forces given the country’s current military campaign in Syria. Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House could be an easier sell.

Also out on Wednesday are full-year results from Softcat, the reliably dull, fast-growing IT group, whose pre-tax profits and revenues have risen more than 24 per cent.

Job moves

Legal & General Investment Management has appointed Margaret Ammon as chief risk officer. Ms Ammon, who will report directly to LGIM chief executive Michelle Scrimgeour, jumps ship from M&G where she has been chief risk officer for asset management for the past two years.

We’re looking to feature more job moves. If you’re in senior management and moving jobs or you know someone who is, let us know about it at quote@ft.com

Beyond the Square Mile

Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s billionaire founder, has vowed to “double down” on its investment in WeWork as he confirmed plans for a $9.5bn rescue of the crisis-hit group. The package will hand up to $1.7bn to Adam Neumann, the group’s cofounder. Although it plans to own 80 per cent of WeWork’s equity after the deal is completed, SoftBank will not have majority control, helping the Japanese group avoid consolidating the WeWork losses in its own accounts.

US federal prosecutors have charged a trio of investment bankers with insider trading, accusing them of participating in a “wide-ranging international scheme” that reaped tens of millions of dollars in profits. The accused are a Goldman Sachs banker and former bankers at Moelis & Co and Centerview Partners. According to the indictment, the insider trading ring ran between 2012 and 2018, targeting deals involving US pharmaceuticals company Merck and biopharmaceuticals groups Amgen and Onyx. Attorneys for those named either did not immediately return requests for comment or could not be immediately identified.

Mark Parker is hanging up his trainers, stepping aside as Nike’s chief executive following a 13-year tenure. Mr Parker will hand the reins of the Oregon-based company to technology executive John Donahoe, a former Ebay chief who sits on Nike’s board, in January. Mr Donahoe will become Nike’s fourth chief executive in its 55-year history, Mr Parker will become executive chairman, and founder Phil Knight will remain as chairman emeritus.

Boeing has replaced the head of its commercial aeroplanes division, the most significant leadership change in the wake of two deadly 737 Max crashes. Stan Deal will succeed Kevin McAllister, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes since 2016, with immediate effect. Mr McAllister, a rare outside hire for Boeing, was the executive responsible for resolving the problems with the 737.

Closing quote — essential comment before you go

Martin Wolf Let digital technologies fuel experimentation — but cautiously, our columnist writes. So far, cryptocurrencies are overhyped, the new payment platforms useful and Libra worrying. But money is too important to be left to the private sector alone.

Lex In comparison to Hargreaves Lansdown and the fallout from the Neil Woodford scandal, St James’s Place has had the better war. However scrutiny on sales commissions are a cloud on the horizon.

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