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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Co-op Bank, Severn Trent, Obama…

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Questions over suitability of ex Co-op boss as M&S Bank director; Severn Trent chief receives 29% pay rise; EU and US 'in biggest trade deal'.

The suitability of Neville Richardson, the Co-op Bank‘s former chief executive, to be a main board director of Marks & Spencer Bank is under question, according to The Times. Richardson was ousted from Co-op with a payoff of £4.6m and went on to join M&S Bank as a non-executive director in February 2012. “Most of the £350m of the Co-op’s loan losses and £1.3bn of loans in default stem back to the period when Mr Richardson was in charge, according to well-placed sources, who said that Britannia would certainly have failed by now had it not been merged with the Co-op,” the paper reported.

Former senior bankers could be invited to form a supervisory committee for the industry to cut down on behind-the-scenes lobbying under a controversial recommendation by the Commission on Banking Standards, The Telegraph said. Bankers on the panel would advise the government on developments in the banking industry and provide an official conduit for conversations between senior politicians and executives.

Chief executive of water company Severn Trent, Tony Wray, has received a 29% pay increase, The Guardian reported. Wray saw his total pay rise to £1.34m in 2013, up from £1.03m last year, according to the company’s annual report. Wray, appointed to the top job in 2007, earned a basic salary of £552,000 in 2013, but took home an additional £546,000 bonus, split between cash and shares, as well as £223,000 in cash for pension contributions and a £15,000 car allowance.

US President Barack Obama and European leaders on Monday began talks on “the biggest bilateral trade deal in history”, the Financial Times said. It is an initiative that Obama has put at the centre of his second-term economic agenda. He announced that talks on a transatlantic trade and investment deal would begin in Washington next month. While EU leaders admit the negotiations will be “difficult”, they believe they can be wrapped up within two years.

Liberty Global has entered the bidding for Kabel Deutschland, the Financial Times reported. The media group, controlled by John Malone, has put in a potential offer that would top a price tabled by Vodafone last week and value Germany’s largest cable operator at about 7.5bn euros. People familiar with the talks told the newspaper that Liberty Global made an indicative offer to KDG at about 85 euros per share.

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