CFO Quits Amid the Battle for ABN Amro

Finance chief Hugh Scott-Barrett announces his resignation as Barclays and an RBS-led consortium clash over which one will own the Dutch banking stalwart.

ABN Amro announced that Hugh Scott-Barrett will resign as chief financial officer and member of the managing board on August 1, in yet another twist in the battle over the Dutch banking giant. He will be succeeded by Huibert Boumeester, member of the managing board.

ABN Amro is the prize in a fierce takeover battle being played out by Barclays plc and a consortium headed by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Barclays has agreed to buy ABN Amro for $84.1 billion in stock, according to reports. However, a group of banks led by RBS has said it intends to launch a hostile bid for ABN worth $94.9 billion, reports the Associated Press.

The Barclays deal is conditional on the sale of ABN Amro’s U.S. subsidiary LaSalle Bank to Bank of America, which said it will pay $21 billion for Chicago-based LaSalle, according to the AP. But the RBS bid is conditional on the LaSalle sale not going through, and keeping the bank intact.

The sell-off of LaSalle has been characterized by some observers as a poison pill measure by ABN Amro to discourage RBS from taking over the company, reports AP. As a result, in late April, a Dutch investor group asked an Amsterdam court to halt the LeSalle sale contending that it unlawful to derail other bids, reports Reuters. On May 3, a Dutch court ordered ABN Amro to freeze the LaSalle sale. ABN Amro is currently appealing the court order.

Which ever group wins the battle for ABN Amro, the acquisition would be the largest in the history of the banking industry, reports AP. But CFO Scott-Barrett won’t be around to enjoy the spoils. “Given the expected change in ownership of ABN AMRO this is an opportune moment for me to look at my future and explore new opportunities in my career,” said Scott-Barrett in a statement. “Having decided not to take up the offered position in the new entity after the proposed merger of Barclays and ABN AMRO, my resignation is a logical step.”

ABN Amro Chairman Rijkman Groenink called Scott-Barrett, “one of the best financial minds in the industry,” and noted that, the bank and its managing board, “have regretfully accepted Hugh’s decision to resign … Hugh brought extensive investment banking experience and sharp analytical skills to the team,” he said in a statement.

Scott-Barrett joined ABN AMRO in 1996 and progressed to global head of corporate finance. He joined the managing board in 2000 with co-responsibility for wholesale clients.

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