Barclays loses FD and General Counsel in one go

Barclays has announced that its FD since 2007, Chris Lucas, and General Counsel Mark Harding are both to retire.

by Andrew Saunders
Last Updated: 01 Mar 2013
Lucas in particular is one of the last remaining of Barclays top brass who served under the old ‘Libor fixing’ regime, and is also one of the four senior execs currently under investigation by the FSA over the Qatari rescue of the bank in 2008. Mark Harding, in overall charge of legal issues has been with the bank since 2003. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by either man.
Coming as it does after the departure of Bob Diamond, Marcus Agius and Jerry del Missier, the £290m fine for Libor rigging and the further questions raised over that £6.3bn Qatari deal last week, the news won’t do any harm to CEO Antony Jenkins’ efforts to draw a line under Barclays increasingly murky past. Just as well as he faces a grilling by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards tomorrow (Tuesday).
Commenting on the announcement, Jenkins said (in his usual management-ese) that, ‘Barclays is at an inflection point in our journey towards becoming the ‘Go-To’ Bank. We will shortly unveil the outcome of our strategic review, to which they have both made a major contribution. The execution of our change programme will take place over the next five to 10 years, and both Chris and Mark feel that now is the right time for them, personally and professionally, to pass the baton on in their respective roles to executives who can commit to seeing that programme to completion.’
Lucas, 52, (who is said to have had to delay his planned retirement once, after Bob Diamond’s abrupt departure) is going to remain in post until a new FD can be found, a process which the bank admits could take until the end of the year. By which time he could have earned himself a not-too-shabby £4m. In contrast, CEO Jenkins passed up his £2.7m bonus last week in recognition, he said, of a ‘very difficult’ year.
It doesn’t look like 2013 is going to be much easier at this rate, although Jenkins’ donning of the hair-shirt could put some pressure on oppos Stuart Gulliver at HSBC and Antonio Horta-Osorio at Lloyds to do the same.
But Jenkins’ biggest worry is not all the old skeletons which keep falling out of Barclays’ closet - he must have known there were plenty more of those to come when he signed on for the top job last summer. Rather it is that some fresh new unanticipated scandal which has occurred on his watch will emerge. So long as he can make sure that doesn’t happen then, pressure or no, his plan is proceeding more or less to schedule.
Read MT's EXCLUSIVE interview with Antony Jenkins

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