Glasgow-based Alba Bank has this morning announced the immediate departure of chief executive Rod Ashley after six years in the post.

Mr Ashley has been with Alba - Scotland's first new bank since Edinburgh's Hampden & Co launched in 2015 - since Alba's inception in 2017. 

He was previously chief executive of the historic Airdrie Savings Bank which was wound down after battling to meet the cost of complying with modern banking regulations. Scottish industrialist Jim McColl, founder and chief executive of Clyde Blowers Capital, approached the board of the Airdrie bank to see if the licence could be retained with its focus changing to supporting small and medium-sized businesses.

Funding was ultimately assembled to establish Alba in April 2018 with Mr Ashley at the helm.

“I have enjoyed every moment of leading Alba from the early days but now is the right time to step aside," Mr Ashley said. "I will be following Alba’s progress over the coming months and wish the team every success.”

He is being replaced by Jonathan Thompson who will assume the role of acting CEO. Mr Thompson is joined by Dominic Wade in the post of chief financial officer, the same post he previously held at Unity Trust Bank.

“I am delighted to take the reins at Alba and lead the bank through this next critical phase," Mr Thompson said. "It is great to have someone of Dom’s calibre alongside me as we take the business forward.”

Alba chairman Robert Sharpe added: “Rod has been a part of the Alba story for six years but has decided now is the right time to move onto other interests. He leaves with our thanks and best wishes.”

Hundreds of Scots affected as Tesco Bank sells to Barclays

The Herald:

Tesco has sold a huge swathe of its retail banking operations to Barclays in a deal worth an initial £600 million that will affect hundreds of Scottish staff in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The retail giant has retrenched further from the financial services sector after agreeing to sell its Tesco Bank operations in credit cards, loans and savings to the high-street lender. Tesco Bank had previously withdrawn from the current account and mortgages markets, with the bank retaining services in insurance, ATMs, travel money, and gift cards.

Scottish income tax in spotlight as Kate Forbes wades in

The Herald:

It has been interesting to observe defeated SNP leadership contest candidate Kate Forbes question the Scottish Government’s income tax policy.

In its Budget in December, the Scottish Government announced rises in income tax for higher earners which will widen further cross-border differentials.

Ms Forbes is, of course, a former cabinet secretary for finance and the economy.

And her key policy views set out during the leadership contest last year seemed to land better with the business community than those from the victorious Humza Yousaf.

Furthermore, given the economy will likely always be a key area for debate when it comes to independence, SNP politicians and party members across the spectrum should probably listen to what Ms Forbes has to say.