Headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland in the City of London
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CEO Stephen Hester: RBS privatisation 'within reach'

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is more than 80% owned by the taxpayer, has announced losses of just over £5bn for last year.

This was partly caused by settling mis-selling claims and fines related to the Libor rate-fixing scandal.

The bonus pot for staff will still amount to more than £600m.

Speaking to Today presenter John Humphrys, Stephen Hester, chief executive of RBS, said that a "level playing field" is important for bankers' bonuses in the European Union and explained that his role is to "try to align RBS pay with things we want our people to do with customers and society as a whole".

"My job is deliver an RBS that other investor want to own shares in so the government has the option to sell," he said.

Speaking about the future of the bank, Mr Hester said that the reprivatisation of RBS is "within reach".

"The cleanup of RBS is entering its last phases. Privatisation is now a light coming down the tunnel," he added.

He went on to indicate that he thought that "RBS will be ready to be privatised within the next couple of years", although he pointed out that this was a government decision and "a matter for them".

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 28 February 2013.

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