The new chairman of Barclays has told top staff he intends to double the bank’s share price in three years as he slashes costs and reinvigorates the organisation.
John McFarlane set out his ambitions for the bank in a meeting with top managers on Wednesday, just hours after the City was informed that Antony Jenkins had been ousted as chief executive.
The bank’s share price, at around 260p, is at a similiar level to six years ago and McFarlane is keen to bolster returns to shareholders after a period dogged with rows over bonuses and multimillion-pound fines from regulators around the world.
His remarks to managers were described as aspirational goals rather than formal targets, and Barclays declined to comment on them.
McFarlane’s goal to accelerate growth at Barclays follows a period when Jenkins had been scaling back its investment bank – the source of the fines and bonus controversy. McFarlane told the Financial Times on Thursday that he thought the bank could be more aggressive in lending on credit cards and mortgages, and accelerate growth in its African business. There is also a new plan for the investment bank, once the powerhouse of the business.
McFarlane will become executive chairman of Barclays next week following the ousting of Jenkins, who was promoted to chief executive three years ago in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal. McFarlane, who only joined three months ago, said that Jenkins was fired after “rumblings” from non-executive directors.
It is not the first time McFarlane has been installed as an executive chairman – a role usually frowned upon by investors and City regulators, who prefer the roles of chairman and chief executive to be kept separate. In 2012, he was named as executive chairman of insurance company Aviva after its chief executive, Andrew Moss, was ousted during the so-called “shareholder spring”, in which sizeable numbers of investors rebelled against boardroom pay in that year’s round of annual meetings.
He has also boasted about his impact on the share price during his time at Aviva. When asked on Wednesday about his reputation as a ruthless cost-cutter, he referred to his period at Aviva: “Tripling the market cap ... isn’t about knives, it’s about accelerating.”
This article was written by Jill Treanor, for theguardian.com on Thursday 9th July 2015 19.46 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010