By Steve Slater and Douwe Miedema

LONDON, Jan 11 (Reuters) – The banker tasked with selling Britain’s stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds quit in a surprise move on Monday, a potential blow to the government’s hopes of turning a profit on the holdings.

UK Financial Investments, the body that holds Britain’s stakes in the two part-nationalised banks and nationalised Northern Rock, said John Crompton had resigned as head of market investments.

Crompton did not leave as the result of any internal conflict and he will return to the private sector, two people familiar with the matter said. His exit comes after he failed to get the job of chief executive vacated by John Kingman in November.

“We are obviously sad that John has decided to leave but fully understand his decision to develop his career elsewhere as UKFI moves into a new phase of its development,” said Robin Budenberg, who replaced Kingman.

UKFI gave no further reason for his exit.

He joined UKFI in December 2008 and has had overall responsibility for its engagement with RBS and Lloyds Banking Group during its first year. He previously worked for Morgan Stanley for 20 years and Merrill Lynch for two years, responsible for equity new issue business.