The chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Stephen Hester, announced last night that he would be standing down from his position at the bank by the end of this year.
The news has prompted concerns that the planned reprivatisation of the bank, currently 81% owned by the taxpayer, could now be put off until after the next general election in May 2014.
Speculation has also been circulating that Mr Hester's departure was triggered by disagreements with the Chancellor, George Osborne.
"It has been nearly five years since I joined RBS after the bank was rescued by the Government. In that time we have reduced the bank's balance sheet by nearly a trillion pounds, repaid hundreds of billions of taxpayer support, and removed the imminent threat that this bank's size and complexity posed to the UK economy.
"All the while we supported 30 million customers every day to help them manage their finances," he said.
Mr Hester is expected to receive 12 months' pay and benefits worth around £1.6 million as well as a potential £4 million in shares.
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