An American banker is being tipped as the new chief executive of Barclays in a move that could be interpreted as a sign that the scaling back of the investment bank pursued by his predecessor could be put on hold.
Jes Staley, who previously worked at JP Morgan before moving to a hedge fund, has emerged as the front runner for the role which was vacated when Antony Jenkins was ousted in July.
Jenkins was promoted in the wake of Libor rigging scandal in 2012 to replace Bob Diamond – an investment banker – to overhaul the culture of the bank and end the bonus culture.
The appointment of another investment banker could be seen as a signal that the more cautious approach taken by Jenkins, who had been in the process of cutting 19,000 jobs as he scaled back of the investment banking division, will be paused or reversed. When Jenkins was removed from his position, the chairman John McFarlane had said more energy needed to be injected into the business.
McFarlane has been running the bank day-to-day after Jenkins’ departure alongside finance director Tushar Morzaria – the leading internal candidate and still the subject of rumours that he could yet take the top job.
Another name reportedly linked to the role is Colm Kelleher of Morgan Stanley.
Barclays would not comment on a report in the Financial Times about the selection of Staley for the role, which would require approval from regulators. Staley is said to have once been regarded as a potential successor for Jamie Dimon at the top of JP Morgan but left in 2013 by which time he was no longer involved in day-to-day management at the US bank.
Shareholders are also expected to keep a keen watch on the pay package agreed for the new boss in light of previous controversies over bonuses at the bank. Staley is said to have been approached to replace Diamond when Jenkins was instead promoted internally.
Earlier, McFarlane had been quoted in the FT calling for mergers between European investment banks to create a regional champion able to compete more effectively against US competition.
Any appointment of a chief executive may not be announced before the third quarter results on 29 October, by which time the Competition and Markets Authority is scheduled to have published its preliminary findings of a review into small business banking and personal current accounts.
Within days of temporarily taking the helm, McFarlane had told senior staff he intended to double the bank’s share price in three years. It was his second stint at running a FTSE 100 company as executive chairman rather than chief executive after replacing Andrew Moss at Aviva in 2012 during the so-called “shareholder spring”.
Once a chief executive is installed, McFarlane is expected to return to a more traditional chairman role, with long-standing non-executive director Sir Mike Rake left to concentrate on chairing the payment processing company Worldpay.
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