Virgin Money geared up for its expected stock market flotation by hiring a new chairman and revealing further progress on trading.
The bank, which bought the former failed lender Northern Rock from the Government for an initial £820m in 2011, said Glen Moreno will take over as its chairman by the middle of next year.
The appointment of Mr Moreno, who is chairman of publishing company Pearson, comes as Virgin steps up preparations for a likely stock market listing that is expected to value the business at up to £2bn.
Mr Moreno - a former acting chairman of the company set up to manage the Government’s shareholdings in UK banks - will join the board in January before taking on the role held by Sir David Clementi since October 2011.
Virgin Money said underlying profits jumped to £59.7m in the first six months of the year, from £13.1m a year earlier.
It increased mortgage balances by 3.7% in the first half of the year to £20.3bn after gross lending of £2.5bn. Savings balances of £21.1bn were flat on the prior year due to falling rates across the market.
Chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said the company was not burdened by the historical conduct and legacy challenges facing many incumbent banks.
She added: “We have a powerful brand, a strong balance sheet, a strong core business franchise and through our ambition to make ‘everyone better off’, a clear set of values that live throughout our business.”
Virgin Money employs more than 2,500 staff, with 1,700 people based at Gosforth, Newcastle, and another 200 at Norwich. It is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Wall Street billionaire Wilbur Ross and an Abu Dhabi investment fund.
The business acquired a network of 75 branches, a £14bn mortgage book and retail deposits worth £16bn when it bought Northern Rock in late 2011. But the failed lender’s multibillion pound book of toxic loans was left in state hands to be wound down.