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 Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Bob doesn't need to go. Yet again the press are jumping on the banker bashing band wagon. It's strange how we've all forgiven the expenses fiddling politicians who are calling for his head. When will we stop concentrating on negatives and start looking at the positives to grow this country out of the mire!? If it wasn't for the BoE's asset purchases and the eurozone we would be the car crash.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    #54 so attempted theft and actual theft should get the same sentence according to your court? Attempted murder the same as actual murder? Manslaughter and murder would also be the same as well? Thankfully we have better laws than that.

    No evidence was found that the rate was manipulated and so to suggest otherwise is just wrong - or does evidence not count for anything in your court?

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    No I'm not writing my own script or do I working in banking but we aren't going anywhere as a nation while we focus on beating folk up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    71. kleptocratistan

    If bank's over extend themselves then there has to be a consumer of the debt. The majority of the people in the country have lived beyond their means and now the party has stopped they want someone to blame. If they'd managed their own finances properly they wouldn't be in a mess. I didn't read one article about too much credit before the crisis.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    I agree with you that we've been shafted. But we have to find away to move on. £15m for bob diamond (right or wrong) in the grand scheme of things is really insignificant . I just wish as a country we'd focus on the bigger picture.


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