A banker's punishment: Sir Fred Goodwin is now just Fred
Fred Goodwin, the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was stripped of his knighthood for his role in the bank's 2008 crisis. But it's not clear hefty bonuses will get similar treatment.
In the good times he was the doyen of British banking. Wealthy and courted by decision makers and knighted by Queen Elizabeth for services to his industry, Sir Fred Goodwin, head of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), seemed invincible.
But then the financial crisis struck in 2008 and his one-time provincial bank – which had grown to be one of the world's biggest under his leadership – had to ask for a £43 billion ($68 billion) government bailout, effectively nationalizing it.
Sir Fred, with his reputation for arrogance and cost-cutting, earning him the nickname "Fred the Shred," is a household name. An affair with a senior colleague, which he tried to keep quiet through the courts, and a £342,000 ($545,000) annual pension – reduced from £703,000 ($1.1 million) only after public outcry – only added to the public image.
This week the government stripped him of his knighthood for his role in the bank's failure. He now joins the ranks of an unlamented group of former "sirs,"including Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe, former Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu, and financer Allen Stanford.