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Opinion

Barclays: Staley stays the course

Barclays CEO has to deliver now he has the bank the way he says he wants it to be.

Jes-Staley-OK-R-780

What should be the verdict on Jes Staley

At one point the Barclays chief executive appeared to be lurching from one crisis to another, whether it was falling for an email prankster pretending to be his chairman or taking it upon himself to intervene in a whistleblowing case that saw him reprimanded by his board and may lead to yet worse from the UK authorities.

But reporting annual results in February, Staley was able to be bullish, telling one TV interviewer that he looked forward to running Barclays for years to come. He can say little else on that matter, of course, but assuming he is allowed to stay, how should he be judged?

Those embarrassments apart, a lot has been achieved since he came on board at the end of 2015. The non-core division has been wound down, the Africa business has been sold, exits have been managed in 12 countries, the ring-fence structure required by the UK has been completed and the bank is about 56,000 people lighter than it was when Staley joined.

The dividend has been restored and there is even talk of a share buyback – it’s been more than 20 years since Barclays’ shareholders saw one of those.


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