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Opinion

Abigail Hofman: Why Jenkins is wrong for Barclays

As a Brit and career retail banker with a long and successful history at Barclays, Antony Jenkins may be seen in some quarters as the perfect successor to Bob Diamond as chief executive. For one market commentator in particular however, Jenkins is an unknown quantity whose suitability is questionable.

Earlier this year, in my May column, I vigorously attacked Barclays after its chief executive, Bob Diamond, received over £20 million as his 2011 compensation. I was particularly incensed about a tax equalization pay-out of £5.7 million meant to compensate Diamond for exiting the US tax system when he returned to the UK to take up the chief executive role. "Barclays’ chairman, the garden-loving Marcus Agius, is compromised..." I thundered. "The bank’s remuneration committee should all be fired, starting with its head, Alison Carnwath.... And as for Diamond, he must steel himself and appoint a few individuals to his inner circle who know how to say no."

Less than four months later, everyone named in that paragraph has gone and I expect there will be further board resignations. After all the board is meant to police the executives and the Barclays board seems to have done a spectacularly poor job of this. It comes down to that ‘A’ word again – accountability.

The new guard at Barclays includes veteran regulator Sir David Walker – an unusual choice for chairman given that he is 72 years old. So effectively Walker will have to start interviewing for his replacement as soon as he has furnished his capacious corner office.

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