Blank to quit Lloyds
Sir Victor Blank is to step down as chairman of Lloyds Banking Group.
The bank's board is meeting this morning to confirm the arrangements for his departure and a statement is expected later today.
This is expected to day that Sir Victor will have handed over to a successor by next year's annual meeting, so in about a year.
Sir Victor, together with Lloyds' chief executive, Eric Daniels, has faced considerable criticism from some Lloyds' shareholders for their decision last year to buy HBOS, the troubled owner of Halifax.
HBOS made a loss in 2008 of almost £11bn and the two banks together are also expected to be in loss this year.
Quite apart from the perception that buying HBOS weakened Lloyds, the other reason some shareholders are upset with Sir Victor and Mr Daniels is that the financial troubles at HBOS meant that Lloyds as HBOS's new owner needed greater investment from taxpayers than would otherwise have been the case.
The Treasury, on behalf of taxpayers, owns 43% of Lloyds.
Sir Victor was more vulnerable to pressure from shareholders because he is up for re-election at the annual general meeting on 5 June, whereas Eric Daniels is not.
Lloyds' directors do not believe that Sir Victor would have been ousted by shareholders at the forthcoming annual meeting (but see below on this).
That said, they feared there would have been a substantial and embarrassing protest vote.
Speculation about Sir Victor's future would not have ended, directors concluded, which would have complicated the process of rebuilding the weakened bank.
UK Financial Investments, which manages the stake in Lloyds on behalf of the Treasury, was acutely aware of other shareholders' conviction that there had to be a change at the top of Lloyds.
It is understood that UKFI feels it was better that the chief executive, Eric Daniels, should retain his job, because it rates his managerial ability and feels there is a global shortage of decent banking executives.
However, shareholders hold Mr Daniels jointly responsible for the takeover of HBOS. His long-term future will depend on whether he can demonstrate that HBOS can be transformed from a millstone into a significant contributor of additional profits.
UPDATE 10:53: I've been trying to get to the bottom of which way UKFI would have voted at the annual meeting on whether Sir Victor should remain as chairman.
And I am now persuaded that UKFI would have voted its 43% (that's taxpayers' 43%) against him staying on.
In which case, Sir Victor could not possibly have survived as chairman. And if directors really believed that he would have won the vote, which is what I was told earlier, they were bonkers.
In other words, Sir Victor has jumped before he was pushed.
What's fascinating is that UKFI seems to be behaving more independently of the Treasury and government than many thought was possible.
I am sure that UKFI would say that it's behaving in accordance with its official mandate, which is to take decisions purely on the basis of what's most likely to increase the value of the bank shares it owns.
The important background to all this is that the prime minister was intimately involved in promoting and supporting Lloyds' acquisition of HBOS.
Sir Victor and Mr Daniels did him a favour by doing the deal, because the alternative would have been full 100% nationalisation of HBOS.
Of course, that's not why they bought HBOS. Their motive was that they believed that the creation of a super-sized retail bank would lead to bigger profits.
It's the mounting evidence that such profits, if they exist, are a long way off which has so infuriated Lloyds' shareholders.
That said, the takeover was controversial from the very start. And many would say that Gordon Brown was indebted to Sir Victor for seeing it through.
In that context, it's striking that UKFI - an arm of the government, albeit one that claims not to be a political pawn - should have been prepared to vote against the re-election of Sir Victor.