September 16, 2013 / 7:29 AM / 5 years ago

Credit Suisse banker tasked with UK sale of Lloyds, RBS stakes

LONDON (Reuters) - The organization that holds Britain’s stakes in banks has picked senior Credit Suisse banker James Leigh Pemberton as its new boss, handing him the task of selling the taxpayers’ stakes in Lloyds (LLOY.L) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L).

Leigh Pemberton, currently UK chief executive of Credit Suisse, was one of the main advisers to the government when it pumped billions of pounds into its banks in 2008 and took big stakes in RBS and Lloyds.

His main job will be to sell those holdings.

UK Financial Investments (UKFI) said Leigh Pemberton would join it in October to replace Jim O’Neil, who is stepping down as chief executive after three years.

Leigh Pemberton will be become UKFI’s executive chairman in January, when UKFI Chairman Robin Budenberg will leave. UKFI will then scrap the role of chief executive.

UKFI also named Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s (BAC.N) Oliver Holbourn as its new head of capital markets, tasked with handling the sale of Britain’s Lloyds and RBS stakes.

Holbourn is currently head of UK, Ireland and South Africa equity capital markets origination at BofA Merrill.

Britain pumped 20 billion pounds ($31.7 billion) into Lloyds and is expected to start selling its 39 percent stake in the bank any day, as its share prices is now above the average price the government paid. The sale is expected to kick off with a tranche of about 5 billion pounds sold in the market.

RBS received 45 billion pounds of taxpayer cash and the government is not expected to start selling its 81 percent stake for at least another year. The sale of all of the RBS stake could take at least five years.

“Lloyds and RBS are both now entering new phases in their development as taxpayer investments and now is the right time for UKFI to take on fresh leadership,” Budenberg said in a statement, adding that Leigh Pemberton was “uniquely well qualified” for the role.

($1 = 0.6303 British pounds)

Reporting by Clare Hutchison and Steve Slater; Editing by Keiron Henderson and Mark Potter

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