In a statement that came at 7:00am BST yesterday, the banking giant Barclays announced the departure of their chief executive Antony Jenkins. This news comes only three years after Jenkins took over the role when both Barclays’ chief executive Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius resigned due to the Libor-fixing scandal. The current chairman at Barclays, John McFarlane, will assume the role of executive chairman on July 17th until a new chief executive is found. Barclays opened on the LSE at 259.0p, reaching a peak of 262.0p around 12:50pm in light of the news before settling back down to around 257.9p. It therefore appears that so far investors have taken the announcement for a search of new leadership as a positive. But why was Antony Jenkins fired?
John McFarlane, the incoming executive chairman told CNBC that the board felt Jenkins was “not the right person” for the job. McFarlane went on to say that he felt the board had more confidence in his abilities than in the former chief executive. He further added it was “obvious” that Barclays was having a “number of issues” and criticised the bank’s lack of agility and efficiency. There is a lot of speculation as to John McFarlane’s overall involvement in the decision, arriving only two months ago as chairman. McFarlane also has something of a reputation for disrupting executive positions, considering his involvement in the removal of Aviva’s chief executive Andrew Moss in 2012.
Antony Jenkins was also known to have differing views on strategy with Tom King, the CEO of the investment bank at Barclays. Tom King is said to have mentioned to several directors last month about quitting out of frustration, due to the contrasting opinions with Jenkins. One view that appears to have polarised views was Jenkins’ desire to cut back on the investment bank to a level that King was not comfortable with. This came at an especially sensitive time when the investment bank is currently one of the worst performing divisions at Barclays.
Overall, with this large movement, Barclays remains steadfast, saying that this doesn’t “signal any major change in strategy” and that the interim results will be announced as scheduled on July 29th. In terms of possible replacements for Antony Jenkins, news outlets such as the Financial Times suggested Tushar Morzaria who is currently the Group Finance Director at Barclays. This suggestion comes with a little more substance than speculation as the bank’s own announcement referenced Tushar Morzaria, saying that he would work closely with McFarlane until the new executive is to be appointed.