A promotion is usually a good thing, but Antony Jenkins' appointment as Chief Executive of Barclays following Bob Diamond's ignominious departure probably doesn't feel like it.
A promotion is usually a good thing, but Antony Jenkins' appointment as Chief Executive of Barclays following Bob Diamond's ignominious departure probably doesn't feel like it. It's about the financial equivalent of some poor foot soldier being promoted to officer, slapped on the back and then told that his first official duty is to stick his head out of the trenches and shout if he sees the enemy.
At a time when all banks suffer for lack of trust and public anger, Barclays is well on track to distinguish itself as one of the worst. Not long after the Libor fixing scandal that finally pushed Diamond off his perch and led to a £290 million fine, the bank is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office regarding payments between Barclays and Qatar Holding LLC. Barclay's isn't yet a sinking ship, but it's certainly one infected with wood rot, and I wouldn't want to be captain of either.
Rather you than me, Antony Jenkins
Antony Jenkins does have the slight advantage of coming from the retail side of the bank — it's the investment bankers that are considered the real baddies. His public persona fits this too, he is 'everything his predecessor Bob Diamond, was not — a retail banker, rather than a strutting investment banker; British, rather than American; and down to earth,' writes Patrick Jenkins in the FT (no idea if they're related.)
Jenkins will have a huge job restoring Barclays beleaguered reputation — and this could get bigger still depending on the outcome of the ongoing fraud investigation — being seen as less flashy, more grounded than Bob Diamond can only get him so far. I don't envy him, and I doubt that many of his colleagues do either.
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