NatWest names new chair to succeed Howard Davies

Rick Haythornthwaite

The board of NatWest Group plc — formerly called RBS — announced that corporate veteran Rick Haythornthwaite will succeed Howard Davies as chair of the company, subject to regulatory approval.

Haythornthwaite is chair of Ocado Group plc and a non-executive director of NYSE-listed Globant S.A.

He also has a number of private company directorships which include chairing the AA, QiO Technologies Ltd and Railsr, alongside a role as an advisory partner at investment bank Moelis & Co.

On assuming the role of chair, Haythornthwaite’s fee will be £775,000 per annum, which is the fee currently paid to Davies.

“Rick will join the board of NatWest Group plc as an independent non-executive director on 8 January 2024 and following a handover period will take over as chair on 15 April 2024, when Sir Howard Davies will stand down from the board,” said NatWest.

Mark Seligman, NatWest senior independent director, said: “At our AGM in April 2023 we announced that we would be commencing the search for Howard’s successor.

“Today’s announcement follows a rigorous process which I have led along with the senior independent directors from our ring-fenced bank.

“After careful consideration of a number of high-quality candidates, the board has unanimously chosen Rick as our new chair.

“Rick is a highly experienced chair who combines a successful commercial career with a deep knowledge of financial services markets and technology, as well as a strong track record of delivery at significant customer-facing organisations.”

Haythornthwaite’s previous roles include global chair of Mastercard Inc 2006-2020, chair of Centrica plc 2014-2019, chair of Network Rail Limited 2009-2012, chair of Haythornthwaite Review of UK Armed Forces Incentivisation 2022-2023, chair of the Creative Industries Federation/Creative England: 2017-2022, chair of the Board of Governors of the Southbank Centre 2008-2016, CEO of Invensys plc 2001-2005, and CEO at Blue Circle Group plc 1999-2001.

Davies said: “I am very pleased by the choice the board has made and am confident that Rick’s experience and range of skills will complement and further strengthen the NatWest board in the years to come. I look forward to working closely with him to ensure a smooth handover next year.”

Haythornthwaite said: “It is a privilege to assume the role of NatWest Group chair.

“I am inheriting a very different NatWest compared to my predecessor; one that is more customer focused, financially resilient and well positioned to maintain its recent strong performance.

“I look forward to working with the Board to build on the exceptional progress made, so we can continue to support the UK economy and deliver for our customers and stakeholders.”

NatWest said that prior to taking up his appointment as chair, Haythornthwaite will step down as a director of Globant S.A. and from his private company directorships — apart from the AA, where he will transition to become a non-executive director.

NatWest added: “In accordance with section 430(2B) of the Companies Act 2006, NatWest Group plc confirms that Howard Davies will receive payment of fees for service whilst a director. 

“Under the terms of his appointment no other remuneration payment or payment for loss of office will be made in connection with his departure.”