THE chief executive of a leading bank collapsed during a board meeting – and £1billion was promptly wiped off the company’s stock value.

The dramatic case of the billion pound black-out, involving Antonio Horta-Osorio, of Lloyds Banking Group, is a core case in a major study of executive level stress, edited by an Essex academic.

Dr Caroline Rook, a senior lecturer at Lord Ashcroft International Business School, in Chelmsford, has just published the second edition of her book, Coach and Couch, a guide to executive training.

It includes a well-documented probe into the growing impact of stress on leaders of trade and industry.

Dr Rook said: “Executive stress is a particular challenge for trainers because of the widespread reluctance to discuss it.”

In Horta-Osorio’s case, he had worked 60 hours a week, seven days a week, without a holiday for more than 40 weeks. He was too ill to return to his job for several months.

Dr Rook said: “For some, it seems normal to be under constant pressure and to only sleep four hours a night and to work during weekends. Also, senior executives always want to seem strong in front of staff and shareholders, not admitting to signs of weaknesses or reduced performance.”

Dr Rook has set out a method to assess levels of stress in executives, in defiance of “the obvious taboo that exists on the subject.”

Lord Ashcroft International Business School is part of Anglia Ruskin University.

Coach and Couch is aimed at business leaders, executive coaches and training professionals, as well as academics and students specialising in organisational behaviour. The first edition sold out.