Richard Ernest Butler Lloyd was born in 1928 in Bolton, Lancashire, where his father was involved in running textiles mills. He was one of five children to Major Guy Lloyd, a director of the textile manufacturer J&P Coats who served as a Unionist (Scottish Conservative) MP for East Renfrewshire for 20 years and was given a baronetcy in 1960. His mother Helen (née Greg) was a scion of the mill owners that founded J&P Coats. Richard was brought up in the village of Gairloch, on the west coast of Scotland and sent to board at Wellington College. As the communist insurgency in the British colony of Malaya unfolded in 1948, he did National Service in the Black Watch. Before he could engage in any operations he was nearly killed by a poisonous snake bite. After his recovery his duties were limited to serving as aide-de-camp to the General Officer Commanding.
On his return he studied PPE at Hertford College, Oxford, and then embarked on a career in the City, initially with the small clearing bank Glyn, Mills & Co. The City at this time was a small world, where everybody knew everybody else. Lloyd quickly made a name for himself because he had a gift for friendship and the requisite charm and tact to suggest useful innovations without being witheringly dismissed by his elders. In 1964, aged 36, Lloyd was made executive director of the bank whose clients included British Rail. In the same period he was also a non-executive director of P&O and Legal and General and, together with Peter Carrington (obituary, July 10, 2018), who remained a close friend, deputy chairman of the Australia and New Zealand Bank.
In 1969 Lloyd was one of the architects of the deals in which Glyn, Mills & Co became part of RBS and a year later merged with Williams Deacon’s Bank along with the English and Welsh branches of the National Bank. With 320 branches, he knew that Williams & Glyn could never rival the “big four” in terms of size, but his style of leadership, both entrepreneurial and emollient, attracted admirers. He was invited by Edward Heath’s government to serve on public bodies aimed at reversing Britain’s plummeting productivity during three-day weeks that were imposed as a result of the miners’ strike.
As such, Lloyd was the City representative on the National Economic Development Council (1973-77), known as “Neddy“, which held exhaustive talks between the government, captains of industry and trade union leaders in what turned out to be a largely fruitless attempt to stimulate the economy during some of the worst industrial strife in the country’s history. He had more success while serving on the Industrial Development Advisory Board from 1972 to 1977, visiting many engineering companies in the Midlands and developing a strong interest in this sector. At Vickers, the maker of Challenger tanks and Rolls-Royce cars, he was a director for almost 20 years and chairman between 1992 and 1997. During his chairmanship tough decisions were made to divest parts of the business and make redundancies. The leaner organisation was brought back into profit. The break-even point for sales of Rolls-Royce cars was halved from 2,600 a year.
With his experience of helping to steer the City through the 1973-74 crisis, Lloyd might have been a candidate to become governor of the Bank of England in the Eighties. However, his association with Heath’s government counted against him.
In 1955 he had married Jennifer, née Cardiff, whom he met at a dinner party. She survives him along with their sons: Tim, Simon and Henry. In retirement in rural Herefordshire, he sat on the village fête committee with all the sagacity that 46 years in the City had given him, greatly increasing the amount of money raised for the village church and hall.
Sir Richard Lloyd Bt, banker and City grandee, was born on December 6, 1928. He died on August 13, 2022, aged 93.
Courtesy of The Times