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Walker Plans Barclays Board Clear-Out

Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times
Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 2:08 AM ET

Sir David Walker is planning a clean sweep of Barclays' board after he formally becomes chairman of the scandal-tainted bank next week and will also oversee the replacement of some key executive positions.

AP

The City grandee has spent recent weeks sounding out a selection of top figures over their suitability to join the bank in a variety of roles, according to people close to the process.

Last week, Tim Breedon, the former Legal & General hief executive, signed up to join the board from November 1.

Barclays is trying to revive its image and overhaul its way of doing business, following a succession of scandals. A week ago the bank revealed a surprise 700 million pounds of additional charges relating to the misselling of personal protection insurance (PPI).

Outgoing chairman Marcus Agius, former chief executive Bob Diamond and former chief operating officer Jerry del Missier all resigned in the summer, following the bank's 290 million pounds settlement with regulators over its attempted manipulation of the Libor benchmark borrowing rate.

Sir David is set to steadily replace most non-executives over the next six to 12 months, associates said, adding that he was also keen to bring in several new top executives. That process could include a new finance director to replace Chris Lucas, who has been unwell for some time and is expected to retire next year.

Chief executive Antony Jenkins has already begun the process of hiring a new human resources director to replace Sally Bott, who resigned unannounced from her role on the executive committee last week.

Many investors also expect the bank to replace Rich Ricci, its investment banking head, given his close associations with the previous regime and Mr Diamond in particular. Mr Jenkins has given Mr Ricci strong public and private backing to remain in his job. Sir David said on Wednesday he had "full confidence" in Mr Ricci.

Two people familiar with Sir David's agenda said he had made approaches to a clutch of senior City figures in recent weeks. They included Lord Levene, the former Lloyd's of London chairman, and Lord Davies, the former chairman of Standard Chartered, regarding the board. Also contacted were Colm Kelleher, the European head of Morgan Stanley, and Jonathan Moulds, the former European head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. It is unclear whether those men would be candidates for the investment banking job or another role.

Sir David, whose management style differs markedly from the more hands-off approach of Mr Agius, has made clear he intends to form more of a double act alongside Mr Jenkins.

Mr Agius and the rest of the board were criticized by investors for failing to provide a sufficiently robust challenge to Mr Diamond.

Last week, Sir David told the annual conference of the British Bankers Association he was determined to regain the trust of the public and policy makers. "It's not good enough to talk about aspirations, we have to walk the talk," he said.

Sir David is convinced that the board needs to be more representative of the "real economy", reflecting Barclays' stated mission of becoming a more responsible corporate citizen. "He wants more non-bankers on the board," said one person close to him.

That drive may surprise some critics of the bank's governance, who have argued that the board would benefit from a bolstering of its banking expertise.

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