THE FINANCE DIRECTOR of Barclays is to retire alongside its top legal expert, adding to the management upheaval at the top of the bank.
Chris Lucas, finance director since 2007, and general counsel Mark Harding, who has been with the bank for ten years, will both step down once successors have been found, Barclays announced on Sunday.
Lucas was one of the bank’s last top executives still at the bank following last July’s Libor rate-rigging scandal, which led to the departure of chief executive Bob Diamond, chairman Marcus Agius and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier.
Having helped steer the company throughout the financial crisis, the last nine months have been particularly fraught for Lucas. In addition to the £290m fine for rigging the benchmark Libor interest rate, the bank is also dealing with scandals around the mis-selling of financial products, while Lucas is also one of four current and former employees under investigation by the Financial Services Authority over disclosure concerns.
The FSA’s investigation into the bank’s 2008 fundraising prompted a Serious Fraud Office probe into payments between the bank and Qatar Holding, part of sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority.
There is no suggestion that Lucas or any of the other three under investigation are guilty of wrongdoing and the bank has stated that the departure of Lucas is unconnected to the investigations.
Antony Jenkins, Barclays CEO, said: “Chris and Mark both expressed to me late last year that they were considering stepping down from their roles at Barclays. The rationale which each shared with me was consistent and, typically, grounded in wanting to do what is best for the bank. Their decision to retire was theirs alone.”
Jenkins said Barclays was at “an inflection point” and that Lucas and Harding “feel that now is the right time for them, personally and professionally, to pass the baton on”.
Lucas said his tenure as Barclays’ FD has “undoubtedly been the most eventful period during which anyone could have occupied a role such as mine”.
“However, I think now is the appropriate time, as we start the implementation of the Transform programme, to begin my retirement from my role on the board and executive committee, and to pass the mantle on to a successor. I shall of course continue to give my full commitment to Barclays until he or she is appointed,” Lucas said.
Headhunters have been appointed by the bank, but the process is expected to take a “considerable time” to complete.