But now, 10 years after £350m was spent on building the Gogarburn headquarters on the site of a former psychiatric institution, the new boss of the bailed-out bank is turning over the executive offices – dubbed Fred’s Folly – to small business and entrepreneurs.
Goodwin’s former office was torn down by his immediate successor Stephen Hester and now Ross McEwan, chief executive since September 2013, wants to turn the once lavish suite into a “business accelerator hub” for up to 80 entrepreneurs. They will be offered free Wi-Fi and free premises and have access to advice from some of RBS’s top bankers.
McEwan is making the move at a time when the bank is facing criticism of its treatment of small businesses by its global restructuring group. “This marks a step change in how we can work with partners to support our local economy,” McEwan said.
In Goodwin’s day, only a handful of staff had access to the suite of offices which once dominated the headquarters on the edge of Edinburgh airport, which has its own transport into the city centre and a glass-covered street running through its centre with its own Starbucks, Tesco and hairdresser.
This article was written by Jill Treanor City editor, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 4th March 2015 18.17 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010