The City’s favoured candidate to become the next chairman of Barclays was instructed today to move swiftly to fill the damaging leadership vacuum at the top of the bank.
I have learned that Sir Mike Rake, who was appointed Barclays’ deputy chairman in the first of two board shake-ups announced this week, met on Thursday morning with the corporate governance heads from some of the City’s largest institutions.
Sources described the meeting as “cordial but tense” and said Rake was told that investors had little confidence in Marcus Agius, the chairman, leading the search for Bob Diamond’s successor as chief executive.
The shareholders also told Rake that they would not tolerate Diamond or Jerry del Missier – who resigned as chief operating officer after it emerged that he had given instructions to Barclays employees to falsify the bank’s Libor submissions – receiving substantial payoffs.
That message will not have been lost on Rake, whose hopes of landing the chairmanship of Barclays will to some extent rest on whether he can curtail those severance packages. I understand that the BT and EasyJet chairman was told by some of the investors at the meeting that he has their support to replace Agius but that they want the process to take place as quickly as possible.
The hastily-convened summit follows the most turbulent week in Barclays’ modern history, during which Agius resigned and was subsequently installed as the bank’s chairman following Diamond’s decision to quit with immediate effect.
People familiar with Thursday’s meeting said that Aviva, F&C, Legal & General and Threadneedle were among the institutions which attended. None of the participants would comment.
Barclays was further hit by the decision of credit ratings agency Moody’s to reduce the outlook for the bank’s standalone rating because of the management upheaval.