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Opinion

Abigail with attitude: Barclays’ downward spiral; Draghi the hero

In April, it was also announced that Barclays would scale back its commodity trading operation. I have written about Barclays’ chief executive, Antony Jenkins, in recent columns and how the supposed new broom is lurching from one pitfall to the next.

Within a mere 18 months, Jenkins has dissipated all the goodwill that anointed him by dint of following an unpopular predecessor. Former Barclays chief Bob Diamond was demonized for being the unacceptable face of the self-serving and rapacious banking industry.

But St Antony is proving a sad disappointment as he can’t seem to get anything right. This may be due to one big failing: the fact that he is not an investment banker and yet he is managing a bank that used to make some 50% of its profits from investment banking.

Barclays’ investment bank continues to be run by two of Diamond’s staunchest lieutenants: Eric Bommensath and Tom King. Is it any wonder that shareholders lost out to employees this February when investment bank bonuses were increased despite falling profits and a paltry 8% return on capital? Unless Jenkins can turn things around quickly, his days in the chief executive club might be numbered.

But I do not attribute blame only to Jenkins. Sir David Walker, Barclays’ chairman, must also bow his head in shame. After all, Walker who at the time was chairman-elect, seems to have taken a lead role in finding a successor to Diamond.

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