Sir David Walker, the outgoing chairman of Barclays, said chairing a bank was a full-time job and questioned how Sir John Peace had chaired Standard Chartered alongside fashion retailer Burberry and credit checking company Experian, from which he resigned earlier this year.
“I don’t know how John Peace has done it. And he is Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire,” said Walker. “It’s not that there would be a conflict with me doing something else. It is a joke, I would have no time at all,” the Barclays chairman told the Financial Times.
Walker said he spent five to six a days a week chairing Barclays, after being recruited to chair the bank in the wake of the 2012 Libor-rigging scandal. He will leave next year. He said Douglas Flint, chairman of HSBC, and Lord Blackwell, the new chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, would agree with his view that chairing a bank was a full-time role. Blackwell also chairs Interserve, a support service company which is the FTSE 250 index.
Walker said his view had changed from five years ago when he conducted a review for the then Labour government into the way banks were run. At the time he said chairmen of banks should devote two-thirds of their time to the role. “The change now is I would say it leaves no time,” said Walker.
His outspoken remarks come at a time when the management of Standard Chartered is under pressure to bolster the performance of the bank, whose shares are at a five-year low.
The bank admitted on Monday it was facing the fresh scrutiny of US authorities after being fined more than £400m for breaching sanctions rules two years ago. A deferred prosecution agreement due to expire this week has been extended for three years.
In response, it announced it was setting up a board financial crime risk committee. The shares fell 1% to 934p.
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