With Agius's exit from Barclays, will Diamond stay?

 

Some shareholders have felt for some months that Barclays needed a new chairman - because the incumbent, Marcus Agius, has been in the job for almost six years and there is a perception, which is perhaps false, that he is not quite tough enough.

You might remember that I said on Thursday that influential investors were saying he would probably have to quit, in the light of Barclays' admission that it tried to rig important interest rates.

Mr Agius has told the bank's board he is going - and an announcement will be made tomorrow.

It is not clear who will replace the former Lazard investment banker. Among Barclays existing non-executive directors, the leading candidate is thought to be Sir Mike Rake, who is currently chairman of BT.

The outsider's name I have heard mentioned as a potential chairman is Sir Gus O'Donnell, who recently retired as head of the civil service.

So where does that leave Bob Diamond, Barclays' chief executive - whom some have said should quit, because he ran Barclays' investment bank during the period when its traders were trying to manipulate the important Libor interest rates and when the bank was understating what it had to pay to borrow?

As I understand it, Barclays board has thrown its weight behind Mr Diamond.

They believe he is the right man to clean up the bank's culture, even if some would say he was partly to blame for the historic shortcomings in the bank's culture.

Ultimately, though, whether he stays or goes will depend on the attitude of the bank's owners.

And the first task of the new chairman will be to ascertain whether they retain confidence in Mr Diamond.

 
Robert Peston, economics editor Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 241.

    Once again crime does pay, this is/was organised crime involving the banking cartel. The capo of the Barclays family knew about the numbers game but is untouchable. Was it a crime, a fine was issued so usually when a fine is incurred, a law, misconduct or something criminal in nature, in the eyes of the law has occured.
    Nothing short of a police investigation is needed, as in the real world

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 240.

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    From which his chairman fled.
    He wrote in haste
    With cut and paste
    What first came in his head.

    "It happened on my watch."

  • rate this
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    Comment number 239.

    I'm sure Agius will walk into another top job - and if not he's earning more in a week than most people earn in a year, so we shouldn't feel too bad for him! How the other 1% live, eh?
    As for B. Diamond, since it's already been admitted he discussed manipulation of the LIBOR rate with the BoE, it's v. likely that he knew it was happening on his watch, in his bank, in his department. Guilty, m'lud!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 238.

    Without condoning what Barclays appeared to have done between 2005 and 2008, it seems to me that with up to 20 other banks being investigated by the FSA and, I assume, the US authorities, there is quite a good chance that the outcome of the conspiracy was to get the LIBOR rate pretty well right.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 237.

    Diamond was recruited precisely because he would do what he has done. Look at his background, his reputation, his comments, statements about his 'leadership'. And how Barclays has changed under his influence from the bank it was.

    Its not just Diamond who needs to go but the Board who have backed him all the way. Replaced by people from outside the club of Godfathers.

 

Comments 5 of 241

 

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