back to article Go Pester someone else: TSB ditches CEO over bank's IT meltdown

Paul Pester has been booted out of TSB's top office after months of criticism over his handling of the IT chaos that hit the bank this year – but is still expected to take away about £1.7m. The CEO's departure follows another systems meltdown over the weekend, when a planned four-hour downtime ended up leaving some customers …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    still expected to take away about £1.7m

    Just how bad do you have to screw up before you don't walk away with such a payout?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

      Sadly you probably have to be jailed for that.

    2. LucreLout Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

      Just how bad do you have to screw up before you don't walk away with such a payout?

      Unless you've brokent he law, it seems its impossible to screw up badly enough that the golden parachute is not wheeled out. Disgraceful.

      And they wonder why my career ambition is to be the failing CEO of a FTSE 100 company. It is literally money for nohting. For less than nothing.

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

        It's "Reward For Failure". Worse thing is, another company will probably employ him to do exactly the same thing...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

          "a severance payout of £1.2m in fixed pay, as compensation for his notice period"

          Make him work out his notice period to earn his £1.2m. Cleaning the toilets.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

            One interesting thing I'd like to see is into which bank he deposits this £1.7m payoff.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

              He will put it in some sort of investment account, and TSB are not in that market. Lloyds is.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Bodily non-functionals

            please don't, imagine what screwing up those capacity tests will result in.

          3. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

            Go a bit harsher... his payouts will be into a TSB account.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              'Worse thing is, another company will probably employ him to do exactly the same thing'

              Most useless CEO hires come out of golf clubs / old boys circles:

              ------

              "Stories which grossly inflate pay for the CEOs of failing companies have become the norm. The rationale is that high level of compensation helps make corporations more competitive and productive. There is little evidence that this is actually true, but this does not prevent companies from giving executives obscenely high rates of pay, all the time working hard to scrape back pay and benefits from lower-level employees. The compensation boards who decide on this are often made up of CEOs from other companies who, to nobody’s surprise, share the belief that CEOs are worth millions."

              ------

              https://www.rte.ie/eile/brainstorm/2018/0724/980685-should-your-employer-get-rid-of-managers/

            2. Fatman Silver badge

              Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

              <quote>Go a bit harsher... his payouts will be into a TSB account.</quote>

              And, for added (pleasure) discomfort, those accounts will experience random periods of 'unavailability'.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

                "those accounts will experience random periods of 'unavailability'."

                Better still, random fleeting periods of availability.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

          It's "Reward For Failure".

          It is indeed. Just a thought - if you're prepared to reward failure what do you expect to get?

      2. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

        It is literally money for nohting

        Back to installing microwave ovens and custom kitchen deliveries for us.... Then onto moving refrigerators and colour TVs...

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

          These are some Dire Straits that we live in...

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

            He got his money for nothin' and cheques for free

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

      "Just how bad do you have to screw up before you don't walk away with such a payout?"

      You need to achieve a Bernie Madoff or Allen Stanford level of screw-up.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

      It's a much better deal than the 100K annual contract being offered to fuck up government systems for Brexit: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/17/home_office_seeks_brexit_tech_boss_doesnt_splash_the_cash/

      I'd be willing to completely screw up someone's IT for anywhere upwards of 500K per annum

    5. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

      There's nothing to stop him from declining the £480K 'historic' bonus... If his contract states that his compensation is in line with 'in lieu of notice', then fine. They could put him on gardening leave for the notice period, and then no-one would be complaining.

      That said, contract provisions for colossal failures like this one should become more... common. Being told that 'if you so utterly screw up that you damage the reputation of this institution, you'll lose all of this' should be enough impetus not to screw up, but then again, any savvy senior exec would refuse to sign such a contract.

      It's a rock-and-a-hard-place situation. I'm not saying it can't be changed, but it'll be hard to sell to any new C-suite exec...

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: still expected to take away about £1.7m

        Being told that 'if you so utterly screw up that you damage the reputation of this institution, you'll lose all of this' should be enough impetus not to screw up, but then again, any savvy senior exec would refuse to sign such a contract.

        That'll be the paying for talent myth. Here's the thing. The vast majority of FTSE 100 CEOs NEVER lead a second one. So, if its talent we're paying for, why is it that they can't find an equivalent or better job?

        Could it just possibly be, that it's simple troughing and nothing to do with talent? That they had the political ability to get to the top of a greasy pole, but that is actually the only skill they really have, and that every equivalent company already has several staffers in reserve who hase mastered that same skill?

        Sure, you do find the odd one where a change in leadership produces remarkable financial results, but that's fewer then 5% of even top flight CEOs.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Get what's coming

    > Paul Pester has been booted out of TSB's top office after months of criticism over his handling of the IT chaos that hit the bank this year – but is still expected to take away about £1.7m.

    Let us all hope the money is paid into his TSB account. And that there is a "hitch" which means he can't access it for a very long time.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Get what's coming

      Brilliant :)

      But you do owe me a new keyboard -->

  3. andymcp

    On the plus side....

    At least this was around a planned 'upgrade' so people had notice of when doom may darken their banking ability.

    Some just fall over without any scheduled intervention. Enter stage left First Direct, who today currently seem unable to deal with online banking either through the app or website. Balances, sure. Move money around? Er.....no.

    1. Joseph Haig

      Re: On the plus side....

      At least this was around a planned 'upgrade' so people had notice of when doom may darken their banking ability.

      I am (for the moment) still a customer and I found out about the outage via Twitter on Friday afternoon. I consider this to be less 'notice' and more 'afterthought'. People might be a bit more understanding if they had not done exactly the same last month. It is almost as if there is an end-of-the-month batch job that is broken.

      If it were genuinely a 'planned' outage then perhaps they could have not done it on the last day of the month, being pay-day for a lot of people.

      1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

        Re: On the plus side....

        Project managers are obsessed with delivering things at the start/end of month, regardless of necessity.

        This is usually in direct inverse correlation with the usage of said system and critical processing windows (e.g. everyone's automated and manual bill payments and salary credits etc)

        I would anticipate that they have relatively quiet windows of opportunity outside month end and dependencies on monthly financial reporting should be dealt with in software/process not change windows...

        I got my programmers to put software switches in for this sort of eventuality so I could pre-deploy the very big changes, and use a very short quiescence to flip switches and restart services etc. rather than attempting to apply changes to hundreds of servers in a timeline with the added consequence of doubling the timeline in the event of a backout.

  4. The Original Steve
    Stop

    Dreaming

    I would hope that this omnishambles is a wake up call for other companies who see IT as a cost centre and those who do everything to shave every penny off the department including outsourcing.

    See title.

    1. Herring` Silver badge

      Re: Dreaming

      I remember working on a project where we had the time and resources to create a full regression suite and a variety of setups to replicate customer environments (it was a shrink-wrapped bit of software).

      Or did I dream it?

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: Dreaming

        > Or did I dream it?

        I think it was probably a dream. The only time I have ever seen something approaching this was in the run up to Y2K. IIRC provision had been made for client companies to even simulate the payments they would be making through the banking system (at least in some limited fashion).

        Even the fullest of full regression testing that I have seen has always failed as soon as it has to receive external inputs or transact business with external systems.

        This is always going to be a problem for banking systems since they are so completely interconnected. I assume that is one reason why they have so much otherwise obsolete systems and software - nobody has the foggiest idea how it works and they are all too scared to try and change it!

        1. yoganmahew

          Re: Dreaming

          @Pete 2

          "This is always going to be a problem for banking systems since they are so completely interconnected. I assume that is one reason why they have so much otherwise obsolete systems and software - nobody has the foggiest idea how it works and they are all too scared to try and change it!"

          Yes, but:

          1. The failures are not in the external interfaces to other banks. They are between the bank and itself. This should be entirely predictable.

          2. This is a new system! They should know exactly how it works! And it's no dinosaur legacy uptime monster with five nines reliability. It's the cloud mate, where 4 hour scheduled outages each month are required?! What happened to "no planned downtime"? When did that die as a thing? What about five nines? 4 hours a month is 99.45%, even with rounding that's not three nines... Is this really what we have to look forward to? My fridge is going to be down for a minimum of 4 hours a month, but the outage may extend until tuesday?

          1. steelpillow Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Dreaming

            Worked on a project which was fine except the automated failover system was botched so badly it would even screw up normal ops when it wasn't needed. Solution was to disable failover and keep the kit handy for manual swap-out.

      2. fajensen Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Dreaming

        I once worked on a project who actually procured a huge SUN Blade Server ("My Preciousss" to the Build-BOFH) to finish the running of build, install and regression tests for several versions of a custom Linux Distro on about 40 different targets overnight.

        There were web pages for each project, target device and whatnot showing the results of the builds. They had like 6 people employed just to keep the tests running.

        I'd say that pretty good software was produced there. Today, one could pop most of the heavy lifting into in the cloud running it on a 'pay-per-build'-basis, so there are no good excuses, really.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Dreaming

      Well yes. Why won't anyone pay me £1.7m to screw up an IT system. I'll do it with added blockchains.

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Dreaming

        I'll do it for half that and I'll use the IoT - Race you to the bottom!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dreaming

          >I'll do it for half that and I'll use the IoT - Race you to the bottom!

          I'll double the original quote, but use a Blockchained IoT Data Link for deep learning analytics. I don't know what any of it means, but neither does the person signing the cheque!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well BT is looking for a new CEO

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/AMP/2018/06/08/bt_gavin_patterson_steps_down/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He'd be well placed there. Al Door Ramji did well (and by 'Did well' I mean **** everyone over) there.

  6. PerlyKing
    WTF?

    Agree? AGREE?!

    "Pester did agree to waive the bonus he was offered for a successful migration"

    Says it all ---->

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: Agree? AGREE?!

      Well, that spares everyone the humiliation of haggling over the bonus in public.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Chief Executive Puppet wanted

    Job description: Install whatever crap Sabadell's in-house IT coupled with Accenture foist upon TSB every week, come up with novel apologies to customers for constant downtime to try and stay in post for more than six months.

    1. gv

      Re: New Chief Executive Puppet wanted

      Isn't the new TSB banking platform implemented in .NET?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just shows the failure of neoliberal policies that have allowed bosses to ruin firms, walk off with seven figure sums, and treat workers like disposable scum. This is NOT good for the economy and needs clamping down on.

    1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

      thats not neoliberal

      that has been the case forever, although the exact number of digits of remuneration has changed as currencies and culture dictate.

      As I recall there were money lenders in the bible behaving not unlike some modern bankers. Mill owners in the industrial revolution, plantation owners... this is not unique even to financial services.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: thats not neoliberal

        "Mill owners in the industrial revolution"

        Mill owners in the industrial revolution quite often went bust; after all they were inventing it as they went along. It was a later generation that coined it when all the problems had been worked out.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Neoliberal

      That's just a word you read on the net and decided to use isn't it? It doesn't really have to mean anything.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Build a test environment

    I worked for a company once (much smaller that this) and when they rolled out a big software upgrade I wrote a test environment to demonstrate that their fancy new database couldn't handle the customer environment once they got past the demonstration stage. I showed it to the managers and they were not impressed - "that will never happen" they said ... and six months later the customer complaints started rolling in. I work elsewhere these days.

  10. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Capital damage.

    How much has this macro cluster-fuck cost each and every one in the country. Have a bonus and million pounds. #itsnotincovenienceitsmoneynotinthetill

  11. The Alphabet

    "Good news! We're letting you go and paying you £1.2m. Bad news, we're putting it in a TSB account, locking you out of your accounts and blocking your cards"

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Angel

      > ...putting it in a TSB account, locking you out of your accounts...

      Cue angry phone call to support:

      DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM ?!??

      Oh yes, we do.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        RE: Cue angry phone call to support:

        <quote>DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM ?!??

        Oh yesFucking right, we do.</quote>

        FTFY

    2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      > we're putting it in a TSB account

      Maybe he’ll sit at his computer watching the balance fall, £1000 by £1000 as fraudsters pilfer it, waiting to get through to the fraud team by phone.

  12. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Elephant in the room...

    ...just how much will TSB have to pay IBM for consultancies? Have they accounted for that?

    Or hope that IBM will write it off and everybody will be happy and live in La La land thereafter?

  13. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Interface problems with TSB migration

    May 2018: “If you had taken due notice of our concerns regarding the migration of customers onto Proteo4UK, which were coming directly from members working on the project and involved in the testing , TSB's IT fiasco could have been avoided.” ref

    April 2018: “Are @TSB developers seriously coding live changes in production? I've found loads of ugly debugging logs in the code which are being spat out in the browser console. I don't dare to imagine what mess they have in the back-end.” ref

    Dec 2017: ‘Proteo4UK is running “in a very active mode” out of two new data centres in the UK. In case of a disaster in one of the centres, all critical services will switch “with no interruption or loss of customer data, transactions or services”’ ref

    June 2017: “Welcome to the Banco Sabadell Open API .. Our API is RESTful, we use JSON format and OAuth 2.0 authorization." ref

    June 2015: “Banco Sabadell acquires Banco CAM: leveraging a cloud computing strategy” ref

    March 2015: “Management track-record: IT Know-how Proteo4 Roadmap” ref

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes but those at the top with money in a capitalist society will trickle it down so it's all good. Everyone wins. That's why these people get these huge salaries. That is of course if the system works.

  15. SVV Silver badge

    So long and thanks for all the cash

    Paulie Pester picked a pack of pickled payouts

    If Paulie Pester picked the pack of pickled payouts

    Where's the pack of pickled payouts Paulie Pester picked?

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: So long and thanks for all the cash

      I nominate you for best post of the month, possibly the year.

      Enjoy a pint & try not to percolate it past your probiscus. =-)p

  16. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Happy

    Well

    I guess if hes looking for a new job, Craptia are always on the look out for staff......

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really fing annoying...

    ...that an engineer i know made a tiny mistake not following request for change process, broke a service that was notice and fixed by another engineer before the working week so no down time he still got fired. Yet you can bring a banks IT system to its knees, keep your job and then when finally asked to leave (so not fired) you get paid over £1mill to do so.

    Fucking annoying.

    Maybe we should all just be failin CEOs.

    Its like what Graham Lineham said on Richard Herrings podcast "I could go to American and consistently fail in TV but make more money than I do being a success in the UK"

  18. Securitymoose

    He can always get a job as a parking attendant?

    https://www.britishparking.co.uk/Press-Releases/bpa-appoints-senior-policy-lead-andrew-pester-as-new-chief-operating-officer

    Big bruv?

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