July 31, 2021

António Horta-Osório decorated by Queen Isabel II with the title of Sir

The former chief executive of Lloyds Bank was recognized by the monarch for “important service to UK taxpayers over the past 10 years, leading Lloyds Banking Group from the brink of collapse back to profitability.”

The effort to place the customer at the center of the bank’s concerns, the creation of a culture of greater equity and social responsibility are also mentioned, namely in the promotion of minorities and women for management positions.

The Portuguese also led the process of reprivatizing the bank, which was 43% owned by the state when it took office in 2011, following support given during the 2008 financial crisis.

“The progress he has spurred at the bank has enabled the Ministry of Finance to fully return the bank to the private sector, returning 21.2 billion pounds (24.7 billion euros) to the taxpayer: 900 million pounds (1,050 billion euros) more than what was originally invested”, stresses the recognition note.

In a statement issued after the award, Antonio Horta-Osorio said he was “profoundly honored to receive such a prestigious distinction.”

“I have spent more than half of my professional life in the UK and it was a great privilege to have led Lloyds Banking Group for a decade. While it is a personal recognition, I would like to think it reflects the efforts of many thousands of colleagues,” he added.

The distinction was announced in the List of Annual Decorations awarded on the occasion of the monarch’s official birthday, celebrated today (although it turned 95 on April 21), when it bestows dozens of people on the recommendation of the Government.

This year, many are recognized for their work during the covid-19 pandemic, including scientists such as Andrew Pollard of Oxford University and Sarah Gilbert, who were involved in developing the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

The list includes various types of professionals, from the healthcare sector to politicians, artists, sportsmen or ordinary citizens who have served the community.

The title of Knight is one of the highest in the Order of the British Empire, as is the title of Dama, awarded in 2010 to the painter Paula Rego.

After leaving Lloyds in April, António Horta-Osório took over as chairman of the Credit Suisse board of directors, ending 28 years of executive roles in banking, as CEO (chairman of the executive committee), first at Santander and then at Lloyds Bank.

His career began in banking at Citibank in 1987, followed by Goldman Sachs in New York and London.

In 1993, he was invited by Emilio Botín to join Santander, having created Banco Santander de Negócios Portugal, becoming executive vice-president of the Santander group in 1999.

Horta-Osório took over the leadership of Lloyds Bank in March 2011, at the invitation of the British Government and Finance Minister George Osborne to turn the bank around following Lloyds’ takeover of HBOS (another British bank), which led to the State entry in the capital, with 39%.

Today, Lloyds is already the UK’s largest digital bank, with over 16 million digital customers, and the only one with an integrated platform of financial products, including banking and insurance products, and has the largest shareholder base in the country with more than 2.4 million shareholders.

The bank ended the first quarter of the year with a net profit of 1,397 million pounds (1,606 million euros), 191% more than in the same period last year.

Also Read: Isabel II Honors Scientists Linked to Vaccine Development

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