Authentic leaders talking openly about themselves and their journey so far

Chris Sullivan

Deputy Chief ExecutiveRBS

This week’s real leader has risen through the ranks of one of the country’s best known banks over almost 40 years. Chris Sullivan is now Deputy Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, a role that has seen him play a central role in the banks restructuring during the recession.
In this conversation, Chris talks about starting his career in branch where he became a manager at the age of just 24, some 20 years ahead of most of his peers. He explains his role as a builder of teams and discusses the importance of diversity in ensuring business success.
As Chris looks ahead to leaving the bank we also hear about the challenge of juggling family life, with his seven children and more recently grandchildren. He also shares his views on the road ahead for the banking sector as it looks to re-establish its reputation.

Official Biography

Chris Sullivan became the Deputy Group Chief Executive of The Royal Bank of Scotland in February 2014.
Between August 2009 and January 2014 Chris was the Chief Executive of the Corporate Banking Division providing relationship management to SME and corporate customers in the UK and managing Lombard, one of the UK's largest asset finance companies, RBS Invoice Finance, the largest provider of invoice finance solutions in the UK, and Transaction Services, the largest domestic Cash Management bank in the UK. Chris also had and retains responsibility for Ulster Bank.
Prior to this he was Chief Executive of RBS Insurance (now Direct Line Group), which is number one in the UK for both home and motor policies. The business is made up of several well-known brands including Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege.
Chris' previous role was as Chief Executive of Retail Banking.  Prior to this he was Deputy Chief Executive of Retail Markets, Chief Executive of Retail Direct and Chief Executive of the Lombard Group where he developed the business to a leadership position in the UK and Europe.
Chris had originally joined Lombard from school in 1975 and after initially working in a number of sales and sales management roles he was appointed head of Group Training and Development in 1991. The role reflected his sustained interest in leadership and management development and initiated his close working relationship with Professor Harry Schroder (Princeton). From there, his proven track record in growing businesses led to his appointment in 1993 as National Sales Director for Lombard Business Finance, moving on to become Managing Director and the aforementioned Chief Executive of the Lombard Group.
Chris was recognised as the 2011 European Diversity Champion of the Year for his outstanding work as champion of equality, diversity and inclusion across the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Chris is a Governor of Ashridge College, Governor and Patron of The Leasing Foundation, Chairman of the Global Banking Alliance and a member of the Professional Standards Board of Chartered Institute of Bankers, CBI Presidents Committee and Westminster Abbey Investment Committee.
FCIBS - Chris Sullivan earned his Fellowship of Chartered Institute of Bankers Scotland for his services to Scottish Banking in various roles throughout his career.