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Barclays picks Aviva's McFarlane as new chairman

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Investors and insiders at Barclays have welcomed the appointment of banking and insurance veteran John McFarlane as the lender's new chairman, who will be tasked with overseeing the British bank's efforts to improve culture, standards and performance.

McFarlane will step down as chairman of British insurer Aviva and take the Barclays hotseat after its 2015 annual shareholder meeting, usually held in April.

The bank has been searching for a strong replacement for David Walker, who with chief executive Antony Jenkins has attempted to improve culture after a series of scandals raised concern about lax standards across the bank.

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"He is a pretty resolute character," said a senior Barclays insider. "That will be very helpful for a relatively inexperienced team."

Barclays sources said the bank still faced up to six years of 'headwinds' which would remain challenging for the bank.

One top investor in Barclays said John McFarlane's appointment was "good news" and would help bolster the lenders relationship with regulators.

McFarlane was chief executive of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group for 10 years until 2007 and has been Aviva's chairman since July 2012.

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He is also chairman of transport firm FirstGroup , and will step down from both those firms.

McFarlane joined ANZ from Standard Chartered <STAN.L>, where he was an executive director from 1993 to 1997. He worked for Citigroup and its predecessor firms for 18 years until 1993.

He was also a non-executive director at Royal Bank of Scotland from 2008 until 2012.

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