The new boss of troubled Northern Rock spoke positively yesterday about nationalisation of the bank as "a chance to pull back".
Ron Sandler, the Government's £90,000-a-month choice to head up the stricken Newcastle lender, looked cheerful and confident about the bank's future as he spoke to the press at the Northern Rock headquarters in Gosforth, Newcastle.
By his side was Ann Godbehere, who will take on the role of Chief Financial Officer for the bank while it goes under temporary public ownership.
Mr Sandler said: "I want to reassure staff that the process of temporary public ownership is a good thing. It gives the bank a period of stability and a chance to pull back from some of the forces that have buffeted it in previous months."
The comments came as Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended the Government's decision to nationalise Northern Rock as being in the best interests of the taxpayer.
"My message to staff is a positive message," said Mr Sandler.
"I'm really not going to be drawn into a conversation about job losses," he went on to say, asking people to "give me a chance".
He said once he had got to know more about the bank and plans for its future, "we can have a very open dialogue about the size and shape of the bank".
He was enthusiastic about yesterday morning's meetings with staff at the headquarters.
"We seem to have a very clear meeting of minds and a very good basis for a constructive part-nership is beginning to develop," he said.
The former chief executive of Lloyd's of London reinforced the Government's "business as usual" message and said the bank was continuing with the work it was doing last week.
When asked about his pay packet, Mr Sandler, 55, said: "I don't think it is up to me to judge that salary."
He described the pay packet as a "market competitive" offer.
"I don't see myself as executive chairman over the entirety of this project," he said.
He added that he had plans eventually to move to a non-executive position with the business.