UK: Antony Jenkins appointed as Barclays chief

Under-fire banking giant Barclays today named its retail and business banking boss Antony Jenkins as chief executive.

The appointment of Mr Jenkins comes a day after Barclays said the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was investigating payments made between Barclays and its Middle East investors Qatar Holding - part of sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority.

Mr Jenkins takes on the post with immediate effect and succeeds former chief executive Bob Diamond, who quit in the wake of its interbank rate rigging scandal.

Barclays shares opened 1% lower today.

Mr Jenkins, who has been on the executive committee since 2009, will be paid �1.1 million a year in the role, with a package including potential annual bonuses of up to 250% of salary and long term incentive shares worth a possible �4.4 million each year.

He will be joined at the top in November by incoming chairman Sir David Walker, who takes over from Marcus Agius, who announced his intention to resign after the Libor rigging furore.

Their appointments end a period of uncertainty over the group’s leadership at a crucial time for the bank.

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Mr Agius, chairman of Barclays, said: “Antony’s appointment has the support of all the directors; we are confident that, supported by the board and the executive committee, he will work quickly to take the group forward.”

He added: “I am pleased that the new leadership of the bank is settled.”

Mr Jenkins said he would seek to repair the bank’s tarnished image as a top priority.

He said: “We have made serious mistakes in recent years and clearly failed to keep pace with our stakeholders’ expectations.

“We have an obligation to all of those stakeholders - customers, clients, shareholders, colleagues and broader society - and a unique opportunity to restore Barclays’ reputation by making it the “go to” bank in all of our chosen markets.

“That journey will take time, we have much to do, and I look forward to getting started immediately.”

The bank has been searching for a new chief executive since Mr Diamond resigned in early July amid the furore following its �290 million settlement with UK and US authorities for attempting to manipulate the Libor rate at the height of the financial crisis.

The SFO probe also centres on the bank’s conduct during the banking meltdown in 2008, investigating payments to Qatar Holding, which is understood to have made a �2 billion investment as part of emergency fundraisings that prevented Barclays from following in the footsteps of Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland by taking a state bailout. Qatar Holding is part of sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority.

It follows news last month of a similar investigation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Whereas the FSA’s investigation was centred on four present and past senior staff, including finance director Chris Lucas, the SFO’s probe is currently not thought to be focusing on any individuals.

Barclays raised more than �10 billion in emergency funding in two fundraisings in 2008.

The bulk of this came from the Middle East, including a �3.5 billion investment from Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan - a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family - which is not part of the investigation.