Shamed British bank bosses seek solace in science and cricket

Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:01am EDT
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By Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - Say sorry, give back some of the money and become an adviser. Playing cricket and keeping a low profile also seem to help.

These appear to be the best routes to rehabilitation or at least a more peaceful life for bankers in Britain blamed and shamed for bringing their companies to their knees.

Matt Ridley, disgraced in 2007 as the former chairman of collapsed bank Northern Rock, has returned to a successful career as a science writer.

In his 2010 book "The Rational Optimist", Ridley argued that by working together humans are wealthier, healthier, happier and more peaceful than ever before.

That did not appear to be the case in October 2007, when Ridley, now 55, turned his back on finance after Northern Rock needed emergency funds, resigning three days after a humiliating grilling by members of parliament who exposed his lack of banking knowledge.

Even though he had sat on Northern Rock's board for 13 years, following his father, the aristocratic Viscount Ridley was better known as an author whose books have sold in their hundreds of thousands.

It is not proving so easy for others to shake off their past in the banking crisis, however, especially given the level of public distaste for a profession widely held to be guilty of badly damaging the economy and continuing to act with unwarranted arrogance.

Former HBOS chief executive James Crosby this week gave up his knighthood -- awarded for services to the financial industry -- and nearly a third of his pension after a scathing report from a parliamentary committee that denounced the bank's former bosses for a "colossal failure" of management.   Continued...