Money & Banking

New CEO admits Barclays made ‘serious mistakes’

| Updated on: Aug 30, 2012

Barclays appointed the head of its retail and business banking division Antony Jenkins as its new Chief Executive on Thursday, as the beleaguered bank faces a new investigation, this time into dealings between the bank and its largest shareholder Qatar, which pumped billions into the bank in 2008.

Jenkins, who has 30 years experience in the bank and formerly headed its Barclaycard operations, was widely seen as the favourite internal candidate for the top job. He replaced Bob Diamond, who stepped down as CEO in July, following the cross-Atlantic investigation into Barclays’ attempts to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate and reap benefits. The bank was fined a total of ₤290 million (Rs 2, 550 crore) by US and UK regulators as part of a wider probe into over 20 banks globally.

The choice could disappoint some who had hoped the bank would choose an outsider, to give the bank fresh perspective and leadership.

However, David Walker, who will take over from Marcus Agius as Chairman, said that Jenkins’s track record and familiarity with the group and vision for the future made him the “outstanding” choice out of a strong shortlist of candidates.

Antony Jenkins admitted that the bank had made “serious mistakes.” “We have an obligation to all those stakeholders… and a unique opportunity to restore Barclays reputation by making it the “go to” bank in all our chosen markets.”

It follows the news, late on Wednesday evening, that the Serious Fraud Office had launched an investigation into the fees paid during the commercial agreements between Barclays and Qatar. The deal struck in 2008 with Qatar and Abu Dabhi enabled Barclays to stear clear of the government’s bailout for the banking sector.

The Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into payments made after Barclays tapped Middle Eastern investors and others for emergency funds in 2008, raising a total of around ₤4.5 billion (Rs 39,600 crore) in June, and a further ₤7 billion (Rs 61,600 crore) in November. Earlier this year, the Financial Services Authority launched a probe into four staff of the bank, including finance director Chris Lucas over the fund raising process.

Published on August 30, 2012

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