Fred Goodwin Stripped Knighthood
February 2, 2012 by staff
Fred Goodwin Stripped Knighthood, Britain stripped the former head of Royal Bank of Scotland of his knighthood on Tuesday, putting a banker reviled by tabloids as “Fred the Shred” alongside Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu as those who lost the high honour.
Fred Goodwin, elevated to the rank of knight of the realm by Queen Elizabeth in 2004, steered one of Britain’s largest banks to near collapse with the catastrophic buyout of a Dutch bank, a disaster that helped bring on the global financial crisis.
He has become a target of public fury in Britain for his role in the 2008 crash – which led to the government spending 45 billion pounds to bail out his bank – and the lavish taxpayer-funded pension he took with him when he left.
“RBS came to symbolise everything that went wrong with the British economy over the last decade and under Fred Goodwin that’s when it happened and I think it’s appropriate therefore that he loses his knighthood,” Britain’s Conservative Finance Minister George Osborne said.
The decision to strip Goodwin of his knighthood came two days after Goodwin’s successor at RBS, Stephen Hester, announced he would turn down a million pound share bonus that had drawn withering scorn from all of Britain’s major political parties.
A report in December by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulator into the near-collapse of RBS blamed Goodwin and other former RBS bosses, while also criticising the FSA itself and the then-Labour government for lightweight financial regulation.
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron expressed satisfaction at the decision to strip Goodwin of the knighthood, while opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband – who had demanded a parliamentary debate on Hester’s bonus – continued to call for deeper reforms at banks.
“It is right Fred Goodwin has lost his knighthood but it is only the start of the change we need to see. We need to change the bonus culture and we need to change the rules so we see real responsibility across the board,” he said.
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