“Rudderless” FCA in leadership crisis as interim leader Tracy McDermott declines top role

No obvious successor to Martin “Grey Vampire” Wheatley emerges at banking regulator

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For many bankers, Martin Wheatley was the one person they feared. The former boss of the Financial Conduct Authority presided over a record level of fines levied on companies in the financial sector.

Perhaps it was this belligerence that prompted Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to oust Wheatley, in a bid by the government to end perceived banker bashing.

According to the Financial Times, interim leader of the FCA, Tracey McDermott, was widely expected within the organisation to take the position full time. However, on Thursday Osborne said she had declined the position.

Osborne’s announcement has thrown the FCA into a crisis that could leave the organisation temporarily toothless as a regulator.

McDermott faced fierce criticism at the end of 2015 after dropping a review of Britain’s banking culture.

Speaking after Osborne’s interview McDermott said: “I remain extremely committed to, and passionate about, the important work we do.

“However, going through the recruitment process has made me reflect on what I want to do with the rest of my career. As a result I have decided that this is not the right job for me at this stage of my career.”

Parliamentary Treasury committee member George Kerevan, a Scottish National party MP, has hit out at the organisation’s leadership issues.

“The decision of Tracey McDermott to quit the race to become permanent head of the FCA leaves the agency rudderless, as she was expected to be Osborne’s shoo-in as chief executive,” he said.

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