Barclays Chairman McFarlane axes CEO

Wed Jul 8, 2015 4:12pm EDT
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By Matt Scuffham and Sinead Cruise

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) Chairman John McFarlane has fired the British bank's chief executive after he had lost the support of non-executive directors in a clash over style and the pace of the bank's turnaround.

The move comes just three months after McFarlane joined the bank and three years after Antony Jenkins was promoted to CEO, having been the bank's retail chief. McFarlane, who had signaled his intention to speed up Barclays' turnaround efforts when he took the post in April, will assume executive duties until a permanent successor is appointed.

McFarlane said on a conference call on Wednesday he had spoken to Jenkins last week about his position after independent directors of the bank complained to him about the CEO's leadership style.

Nicknamed "Saint Antony" for his drive to clean up the group's culture after an interest rate-fixing scandal, Jenkins' understated approach, in contrast to the brash style of his predecessor Bob Diamond, rubbed board members up the wrong way.

Jenkins' position was also undermined by a row with the boss of Barclays' investment bank, Tom King, over the future of the business.

Jenkins wanted to slash the investment bank's assets more aggressively, according to a person familiar with the matter, but King resisted saying he would retire early from the bank if such a strategy was pursued.

The source said that McFarlane intervened to ensure that King would stay and that the disagreement appeared to have undermined Jenkins's position.

Reuters could not immediately reach Jenkins for comment. King declined to comment.   Continued...

Then Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins poses for the media in London in this February 12, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/Files