THE former chairman of Morgan Stanley International has been tasked with steering Barclays through the most turbulent period in its history.
The bank’s new chairman Sir David Walker, who was appointed on Thursday and will take up the role on November 1, has set a 24-month deadline by which time he hopes the bank will be on firmer footing.
He said he wanted to see significant change at Barclays and revealed that he was not committed to any of former chief executive Bob Diamond’s business plan.
Sir David will replace Marcus Agius, who announced his intention to resign in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal that left Barclays’ reputation in tatters and sent shockwaves through the industry.
He will have to appoint a new chief executive after the rate-fixing affair claimed the scalp of Diamond on July 3.
Sir David said his highest priorities are appointing a new chief executive, reforming compensation and bringing about a changed culture.
He said he would like to speed up the process of “ring-fencing” so that the bank is functionally separated before the 2019 deadline set by the Government. And he admitted that in principle he favours charging for bank accounts and services, and branded recent mis-selling episodes, such as interest rate swaps to small companies and payment protection insurance, as “the consequence of not charging for bank accounts”.
Asked about the ideal candidate for a chief executive, Sir David said: “He’s a polymath. Leaving aside where he’s come from, whether or not he’s an investment banker or a retail banker, he needs to be confident of leading in a lateral way.
“These are well-performing businesses, and we need to be confident that the new leadership at the executive level should be able to straddle both.”