NatWest retail chief in Tesco bank move

Tesco Personal Finance, the supermarket’s banking arm, has poached Paulette Rowe from beleaguered RBS Group to head its marketing operations. The move comes ahead of an expansion planned for next year.

She joins Tesco Personal Finance as commercial and marketing director from RBS, where she was chief executive of European consumer finance. Prior to that she was NatWest managing director of retail. She takes over from Roger Fogg, who has taken a commercial role in Tesco’s supermarket operations.

The appointment of Rowe comes just months after Benny Higgins joined the financial service division as chief executive. He led the £950m buy-out of RBS’s 50% stake in the supermarket bank. Higgins joined formally in July after the transaction was completed.

Higgins has made a number of other appointments from cash-strapped rivals RBS and Halifax Bank of Scotland, which is currently being acquired by Lloyds TSB, including RBS head of cards Iain Clink as finance and international director.

The acquisition of the 50% stake has yet to receive regulatory approval, but Tesco has already outlined expansion plans for the bank, which has 5 million customer accounts.

It is planning to expand into new markets such as China as well launching new products and opening branches in its supermarkets. It believes that it can benefit from the credit crunch as consumers look to brands they can trust.

Rowe joined RBS Group in November 2001 from GE in the US as NatWest brand director. She was promoted to managing director of retail at Natwest three years ago.

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