Sir Fred Goodwin’s banker Matthew Greenburgh quits the City

Posted: March 27, 2010 in telegraph-co-uk

Matthew Greenburgh, who famously advised the disgraced former Royal Bank of Scotland chief Sir Fred Goodwin on his disastrous takeover of ABN Amro, is retiring from Bank of America Merrill Lynch to pursue other interests.

By Philip Aldrick, Banking Editor
Published: 7:44PM GMT 26 Mar 2010

Merrill Lynch bull - Sir Fred Goodwin's banker Matthew Greenburgh quits the City

Merrill Lynch bull – Sir Fred Goodwin’s banker Matthew Greenburgh quits the City

Friends said he does not intend to work in business and may turn his hand to academia.

The inveterate dealmaker’s final big deal was the £22.5bn recapitalisation of Lloyds Banking Group last year, which included what was then the largest rights issue in UK history. By helping the lender secure private sector backing, the taxpayer’s exposure to Lloyds was reduced by billions of pounds.

Despite working on hundreds of deals in his 28-year City career, Mr Greenburgh will be most remembered for the two that went wrong. As well as advising Sir Fred on the ABN takeover, he was the banker to Lloyds on its acquisition of HBOS.

Lloyds shares have collapsed due to HBOS’s bad lending, causing the bank to write off tens of billions of pounds. Treasury sources say, though, that the deal probably rescued the country’s largest mortgage lender from full nationalisation. RBS is now 84pc owned by the taxpayer and Lloyds 41pc after £65.5bn of state bail-outs.

Mr Greenburgh, 49, shot to prominence advising Sir Fred on RBS’s takeover of Natwest in 2000. The deal sealed both their reputations and was considered one of the best of the decade. Mr Greenburgh subsequently became Sir Fred’s most trusted adviser on a string of other deals culminating in the ABN calamity in 2007.

He later became close to Eric Daniels, Lloyds chief executive. The two memorably went on a dove-shooting trip to Argentina together last year.

At his peak, Mr Greenburgh was one of the City kingmakers – rising to chairman of the financial institutions group at BoA Merrill Lynch and taking home annual bonuses in excess of £10m. He polarised opinion in the City, with as many objecting to his arrogance as respected his achievements.

He reported to Andrea Orcel, the $30m-a-year banker who heads up BoA Merrill Lynch’s global banking & markets practice. Mr Orcel and Henrietta Baldock, European head of the financial institutions group at BoA Merrill Lynch, will take over Mr Greenburgh’s remaining clients, which include Lloyds, Royal & Sun Alliance and Standard Life.

Among his other deals was the defence of the London Stock Exchange against multiple bids, and the flotations of Standard Life and Friends Provident.

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