Britain's Barclays bank Thursday appointed a new
chief executive amid ongoing efforts to restore its battered
reputation following the shake-up of its leadership over the Libor
interest rate-fixing scandal.
The bank said 51-year-old Antony Jenkins would succeed Bob Diamond, the flamboyant US banker who stepped down in July following the exposure of attempts by Barclays to rig the key interbank lending rate.
"We have made serious mistakes in recent years and clearly failed to keep pace with our stakeholders' expectations," Jenkins said Thursday. "We have much to do, and I look forward to getting started immediately."
Jenkins, who first joined Barclays 30 years ago, has a background in retail banking. Diamond, by contrast, was behind a major expansion of the bank's profit-spinning investment arm.
Analysts described the Oxford-educated banker as a "safe pair of hands" for Barclays as efforts to restore the bank's reputation continue. But there was also criticism of his "retail focus" and a lack of experience outside Barclays.
"He ticked all the conservative boxes; he was not flash - a marathon runner and a family man," said analyst David Buik of Cantor Index brokerage firm. He believed, however, that it would have been preferable for Barclays to have appointed an outsider.
Jenkins joined US bank Citigroup in 1989, but returned to Barclays as chief executive of the banks credit card business, Barclaycard, in 2006. He has been a member of Barclays' executive committee since 2009.
Outgoing Barclays chairman Marcus Agius said Jenkins was chosen "because of his excellent track record transforming Barclaycard and retail and business banking."
Banking reform proposals introduced by the British government envisage a stricter separation between retail and investment banking, in an attempt to end the excesses of the "bonus culture" that thrived in the City of London prior to the banking crisis.
In May, Barclays was fined 290 million pounds (460 million dollars) by British and US regulators over attempts by traders to rig the Libor number, which sets the interest rate at which many banks can borrow from each other. A number of high-profile international banks are being investigated on similar allegations.
Meanwhile, Britain's Serious Fraud Office said Thursday that it was investigating Barclays in connection with dealings with Qatar Holding LLC, part of sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, over Barclays' recapitalization during the 2008 banking crisis.
Barclays raised 11.5 billion pounds in two separate cash calls in 2008 in order to avoid joining other leading British banks in requesting a government bailout.
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