Win Bischoff

Andrew Hill

Speculation about António Horta-Osório’s condition will not end now that Lloyds Banking Group has announced the “full recovery” of its ailing chief executive and heralded his return to the job on January 9. Sir Win Bischoff, chairman, told journalists on Wednesday that the cause of the CEO’s sudden enforced departure in November was physical – overwork, sleep deprivation and exhaustion – but “certainly not stress”. Each director has met the chief executive separately and judged him fit to return, as have independent medical experts.

Asked how Mr Horta-Osório seemed to him now, Sir Win replied: “Very well, very well, very well. Bushy tailed. Terrific. Big smile.”

In other words, just as he seemed – to me, to other commentators, and probably to Sir Win - when he was appointed last year. For directors, and shareholders – which include UK taxpayers through holding company UKFI – the important thing is to ensure that Mr Horta-Osório does not suffer any relapse. Sir Win said on Wednesday he was confident his CEO was fit, but if it turned out he wasn’t, he intimated that his own job as chairman would be on the line. Read more