RBS boss is grilled at meeting in Wakefield

Stephen Hester and Ed Balls, MP, at a West Yorkshire IoD with Wakefield Enterprise Partnership lunchtime Q&A at Wakefield Town Hall.  12 July 2013.'Picture Bruce Rollinson

Stephen Hester and Ed Balls, MP, at a West Yorkshire IoD with Wakefield Enterprise Partnership lunchtime Q&A at Wakefield Town Hall. 12 July 2013.'Picture Bruce Rollinson

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The controversial banker set to leave Royal Bank of Scotland with at least a £1.6m pay off spoke at a business meeting in Wakefield.

Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester attended a lunchtime meeting organised by the Institute of Directors (IoD) at Wakefield Town Hall.

He was joined by shadow chancellor and Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls at the event, which was co-sponsored by Wakefield Enterprise Partnership.

The pair spoke at the meeting before answering questions, although what was said at the meeting cannot be reported under ‘Chatham House’ rules.

Speaking after the meeting, Suzy Brain England, regional chairwoman of the IoD, said: “We had a great turnout and an honest debate about what it feels like doing business in Yorkshire.

“Of a range of stories told by members, it was clear that at times our banks don’t always really know what it is like to run a company.

“I am sure IoD members would readily enable bankers to spend more time with them at work if it meant a greater grasp of why we need banks to say “yes”, and why they should not so readily assume they are going to lose their shirt backing us.”

Before the meeting, the IoD said Mr Hester would explain the role he believed RBS had to play in the future of British business and how the bank would fuel the economy and boost growth.

Last month Mr Hester announced he is set to leave RBS, which is 84 per cent state-owned after being bailed out by the government, at the end of the year. After Mr Hester leaves the bank he will reportedly receive £1.6m in pay and benefits and up to £4m in further benefits over the following three years.

He joined RBS and led a restructuring of the organisation following its near collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.

RBS is said to be preparing to be privatised.