ABN CEO to Leave in RBS-led Boardroom Shake Up


A manager at Royal Bank of Scotland will replace ABN Amro CEO Rijkman Groenink as the RBS-led consortium buying the Dutch bank in the industry's largest takeover took the first step in the process of carving it up.

Groenink said he would step down at an extraordinary meeting of the company's new shareholders. RBS's winning 70.5 billion euros ($99 billion) bid became unconditional on Wednesday.

Groenink had preferred a lower rival bid from Barclays that failed due to lack of shareholder interest.

"Mr. Groenink's nominated replacement as (chief executive) is Mr. Mark Fisher," a member of RBS's management and supervisory boards, the consortium said in a statement. "The other existing members of the managing board will retain positions with revised responsibilities."

The consortium said it would retain Arthur Martinez as ABN Amro's chairman, and named RBS CEO Fred Goodwin, Fortis CEO Jean Paul Votron, and Santander General Manager Juan Inciarte to ABN Amro's supervisory board.

The consortium outbid Barclays by about 9 billion euros ($12.7 billion) to win control of 183-year-old ABN Amro.

Goodwin said at a news conference Wednesday that the consortium would move quickly to set up consultations with the current board, regulators and employee bodies, to break up the bank.

Fortis wants ABN Amro's Dutch operations, Banco Santander wants its Brazilian and Italian arms, and RBS wants the rest, including operations in Europe, Asia and the Americas not being swallowed by the other consortium members. RBS also will take ABN's investment banking arm.

Until the splits are formalized, the consortium will jointly own ABN, with a 38.3% share for RBS, a 33.8% stake for Fortis, and 27.9% for Santander. RBS, as consortium leader, will consolidate ABN on its books and be responsible for meeting regulatory requirements.

The consortium holds about 86% of ABN Amro shares. ABN shareholders who tendered their shares will be paid on Oct. 17, and the consortium has extended a new offer on the same terms to holdout shareholders until Oct. 31.

Barclays CEO John Varley, who acknowledged defeat in a battle that began in March, said that the consortium had overpaid and it would have been wrong for Barclays to put more money on the table.

"People who do win pay more than people who don't win," Fred Goodwin said Wednesday. "I don't feel like we overpaid."

ABN Amro shares closed up 0.2% at 37.93 euros ($53.63), slightly below the offer price of 38.00 euros ($53.74). RBS shares were barely changed, up just 0.2% at 559 pence (8.08 euros; $11.42).

Goodwin said that the absence of ABN Amro's US division, Chicago-based LaSalle Bank, from the deal was "ancient history" and talked up the existing combined strengths in the United States.

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