Many thought that it would never happen but yesterday Sir Brian Pitman, doyen of British bankers, relinquished the top job at Lloyds TSB.
Attending his final annual meeting in Edinburgh, Sir Brian brought down the curtain on a career that spanned almost 50 years at the bank.
Sir Brian, 69, who became group chief executive in 1983 and chairman in 1997, has taken part in some of Britain's biggest deals in financial services, including the acquisitions of Abbey Life, Cheltenham & Gloucester and Scottish Widows, and the merger with TSB.
His one regret was the failure to secure control of Standard Chartered in 1986.
His retirement takes place at an unfortunate moment for Lloyds TSB as it pursues the £20 billion takeover of Abbey National.
That deal, currently being considered by the Competition Commission, becomes the responsibility of Maarten van den Bergh, the Dutchman who succeeds Sir Brian as chairman.
Mr van den Bergh, a veteran of Royal Dutch Shell, is also expected to seek a European partner for Lloyds TSB, filling a gap in the bank's broader corporate strategy.
Sir Brian is expected to take on a clutch of non-executive appointments in retirement, including the chairmanship of Acturis, a new insurance venture.
In a trading update Lloyds TSB said that it had made a strong start to the current year. Its shares fell 8p to 700p.