Rake shuns Barclays chairman role: sources

Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:31pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Michael Rake, deputy chairman of Barclays Plc BARC.L, has ruled himself out of contention to be its new chairman, striking a blow to the UK bank as it hunts for new leadership to steer it through its interest rate-rigging scandal.

Rake, who was considered the favorite for the job, is not interested in the role, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

His retreat follows protests by several top shareholders who were determined that the next chairman should come from outside Barclays, according to FT.

The next Barclays chairman faces a stiff challenge. The bank was fined $450 million three weeks ago for manipulating Libor interest rates, and the scandal has unearthed deep problems in its relations with regulators, who have accused the bank of frequently being too aggressive.

The job will also attract intense scrutiny -- and possibly interference -- from UK authorities, who have been criticized for not doing more earlier to rein the bank in.

Rake would have been forced to give up his chairmanship roles at telecoms firm BT Group BT.L and budget airline easyJet EZJ.L to take the job. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Marcus Agius, chairman for 5-1/2 years, will step down once a replacement is found.

Barclays is also searching for a chief executive. Bob Diamond, who was CEO from the start of 2011, quit with immediate effect a week after the Libor settlement, following a political and public backlash. When he left, Agius took on the top executive responsibilities.

The fallout from the scandal is expected to overshadow the bank's half-year results on Friday, which should show it made an underlying profit of 3.8 billion pounds ($5.94 billion), according to the average estimate of analysts polled by the bank.   Continued...