EMBATTLED Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Tan has resigned, the nation’s seventh-largest commercial bank said on Friday.
In a statement accompanying the formal announcement of his resignation, which the management has accepted “with regret,” Tan said, “Despite having been cleared of any wrongdoing, as President and CEO of RCBC, I take full moral responsibility for this sad incident in the history of the bank.”
Tan’s move is the second high-profile resignation from RCBC in recent weeks in the wake of the $81 million money-laundering scandal, in which funds stolen from an account of Bangladesh’s central bank were deposited in accounts opened at RCBC’s Jupiter St., Makati branch office.
Ahead of the bank president’s move, RCBC’s treasury and retail banking head, Raul Tan (no relation to Lorenzo), left his post on April 20, citing “command responsibility” for the bank’s involvement in the scandal, according to a statement issued by RCBC’s legal counsel Ma. Celia Estavillo. The bank stressed that its internal investigation had cleared the treasurer of any wrongdoing in the case.
Lorenzo Tan, who was implicated by former RCBC Jupiter branch manager Maia Deguito in her Senate testimony in the money heist as having coached her on how to manage questions about the transactions, has been on an indefinite leave of absence since March 23 “to allow him to focus on clearing his name,” according to a statement from RCBC at the time.
Tan vehemently denied the charges leveled at him by Deguito in his own testimony before the Senate blue-ribbon committee, and the bank likewise said its internal investigation had found no wrongdoing on his part.
He was temporarily replaced as CEO by RCBC chairwoman Helen Yuchengco-Dee after his leave of absence was approved by the bank’s board in March.
According to a high-level source, Tan presented his resignation to the RCBC board of directors during a regular meeting on Monday, April 25. The board, however, reportedly deferred formal acceptance of it pending a decision on either an interim or permanent replacement.
RCBC said that Dee would continue for the time being in her dual role, aided by a management team composed of RCBC Vice-Chairman Cesar EA Virata and Director Armando Medina.
The bank said it was accepting Tan’s resignation “with regret,” and added, “His vision — and legacy– to keep the bank growing and serve customers better through the use of the latest technology shall remain.”
Tan joined RCBC in February 2007. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Philippine National Bank and United Coconut Planters Bank, and held several key positions with Citibank group. BEN KRITZ