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 46.

    So Bob Diamond says he 'didn't know'. Hmmmm. So i'm heading up one of the biggest investment banks during a time of economic crisis and I don't know my own company's real borrowing rate? I think not. And he must have known the declared rate to be discussing it with the Bank of England. The two numbers didn't match. He knew. Time to go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    In any other business, what has happened here would lead to sackings or require resignation, possibly followed by legal action - why is anyone here being treated as a special case, regardless of their alleged position? In the name of decency (if it still exists) those involved or those who knew and did nothing should go NOW and face the consequences. I'm disgusted by their behaviour - GO!

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    It is so obvious that Diamond has to go. He exemplifes the 'culture' that has brought all this about. Barclays shares now trade at less than half book value. All Diamond and his minions have succeeded in doing is destroying shareholder value all the while lining their own pockets. If this is what an 'able' CEO can achieve, I'd hate to see what an incompetent one would do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    So the board of Barclays think the right man to clean up the culture of greed is the incumbent CEO who has trousered £100 million.

    How can we ever trust Barclays while the majority of the public think its CEO should be facing criminal proceedings?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    The banks are now run by "Delboy" charactrers, not proper bankers. If Mr Diamond had an ounce of integrity in his body he would have gone by now.


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