Barclays ramps up selloffs as profits rise

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The recently appointed executive chairman of Barclays, John McFarlane, is set to wield the axe even more quickly at the bank, it emerged Wednesday.

The bank now plans to cut its non-core assets from £57 billion ($89 billion) at the moment to £20 billion by the end of 2017, with the sale of businesses like its Portugal operations accelerated.

McFarlane said in a statement; "We need to accelerate the execution of the strategy. There is more that can be done to deliver better returns for shareholders, faster."

Impatience with the pace of change was believed to be behind Antony Jenkins's departure as the bank's CEO a few weeks ago.

Antony Jenkins, former chief executive officer of Barclays
Barclays Chairman: Jenkins 'not the right person'
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Since then, Tushar Morzaria, the bank's chief financial officer, Mike Smith, chief executive of ANZ, and Colm Kelleher, chief executive of Morgan Stanley International, have been rumored candidates for the job.

Barclays reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of £3.7 billion for the first half of the year, up 11 percent from a year ago as its investment banking revenues picked up.

The bank booked an additional £850 million provision for U.K. customer compensation in the second quarter over issues like the mis-selling of financial products to U.K. consumers.

Barclays will also cut its heads of European asset-backed securities sales, trading and research, as the market for these assets declines following the European Central Bank's quantitative easing program.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle