James Staley has been named new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Barclays. He will take up office from December 1, 2015. The J. P. Morgan investment banking veteran is currently managing partner at BlueMountain Capital, a private hedge fund.
At Barclays, Staley will replace Anthony Jenkins. Jenkins was removed from the CEO office this summer, for what apparently was deemed a failure by the board of the British bank, after he attempted to turn the company around in the wake of the Libor scandal. This had already cost Jenkins’ predecessor, Bob Diamond, his job.
Staley has spent 40 years in the banking and financial services industry, 30 of these at J. P. Morgan- a statement by Barclays reads- heading some of the lender’s main business divisions, including Equities, Private Banking, and Asset Management. His latest position in the US bank was as head of its Global Investment Bank.
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The chairman of the British bank John McFarlane commented that Staley has the “appropriate leader talent and wide-ranging experience” to steer the company in the right direction and make shareholders happier than they have been in the last few years, after the breakout of the Libor manipulation scandal.
Barclays has been saddled with more than $2 billion in fines and settlements relating to the scandal, and regulators continue to keep a close eye on its operations. The bank earlier this year said it will undertake a massive restructuring program that will, according to media reports, cost the jobs of 30,000 or more people. It’s also bent on automating a range of its services to improve its competitiveness.
This latest executive move is part of these restructuring efforts, whose driver is Mr. McFarlane. In the summer, shortly after the firing of Anthony Jenkins, McFarlane told media that the top priority for Barclays was to improve revenues, rather than to focus excessively on cost-cutting.
Commenting on his new appointment, Staley said that his main job will be to improve shareholder returns, in line with McFarlane’s strategy, as well as to strengthen customer trust. He went on to add that Barclays is a franchise with a significant potential across its operations and that this potential needs to be maximized by boosting the bank’s competitive advantages and developing new ones.