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The woes just keep coming for the banking sector. The headlines are awash with new dirt and more fines – Citigroup is taking up recent ink with their massive payout to wronged shareholders during the financial crisis. And now Barclays quickly moves centre stage, filling the void of CEO left by the recently departed Bob Diamond, with the newly anointed, former head of retail and business, Antony Jenkins.
Of course we’re all expecting to hear encouraging words about this being ‘a new chapter, and the need to win the public trust,’ but is this the man to do it? Barclays couldn’t be in worse shape, especially as they are now dealing with a fresh PR nightmare as the Serious Fraud Office investigates dirty dealings concerning the bank and Middle Eastern funds dating back to 2008. As the Guardian reports, “The inquiry – which relates to the disclosure of fees paid to the sovereign investor Qatar Holding – represents the latest blow to Barclays.” The bad news just keeps coming.
The good news is that Antony Jenkins comes from the more ‘in-touch’ side of retail banking but is still, nonetheless, an internal promotion and not really ‘fresh blood’ from outside. It’s not surprising that he recently issued a memo stating the need to change the culture of Barclays within – “move faster, more boldly and be even more joined up in executing it.” It’s also encouraging that Jenkins said to the Guardian that changing compensation was top of the agenda for the bank. The newspaper elucidated just how far this new organizational tactic is going by giving Jenkins’ new salary, in contrast to that of Diamond’s: “His total pay package could be worth up to £8.61m…the package is below that of his predecesssor, who received £17m in pay, shares and perks last year.” Although hardly chicken feed, it is a favorable first step. Next move is winning back the public – no easy feat.