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Governance expert new Barclays chair

Aug 10 2012 09:30 Reuters

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London - Barclays has picked corporate governance expert and City grandee David Walker as its new chairperson in an effort to rebuild the UK bank's reputation after a rate rigging scandal.

The British bank said on Thursday that Walker, 72, a former Bank of England and Treasury official who wrote one of the most significant governance manuals for UK banks, would become a non-executive director on September 1 and succeed Marcus Agius as chairperson two months later.

One of his first tasks will be to help choose a new chief executive, which Walker said he will be "fully engaged" in.

Agius, who resigned over the scandal along with Chief Executive Bob Diamond, said the bank had been encouraged "by the quality of candidates" that it had seen so far for the CEO post.

Barclays was fined $453m in June for manipulating Libor interbank lending rates in a scandal that unearthed deep problems in its relations with regulators, who have accused the bank of frequently being too aggressive.

That sparked the resignations of Agius and Diamond, who left under pressure from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Bank of England after a public and political outcry over the scandal. Chief Operating Officer Jerry del Missier also quit.

Walker said he was looking forward to playing his part in moving the company on after recent events. "The UK needs a strong financial services sector and Barclays has a crucial role to play in ensuring that this country has a successful, well-governed banking industry," he said in a statement.

He will step down from his role as a senior adviser to US investment bank Morgan Stanley, having previously been chairperson of its international operations based in London.

He is a former deputy chairperson of Lloyds and vice chairperson of insurer Legal & General and since 2007 he has completed two independent reports and made recommendations regarding the private equity industry and corporate governance at financial institutions.

He also co-led the independent review of the report that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) produced into the failure of Royal Bank of Scotland.

In a letter to Barclays staff Agius said: "We have been encouraged by the quality of (CEO) candidates that we have seen so far, but will take the time and consideration required to ensure we appoint absolutely the right person for the job."

As chairperson, Walker will be paid £750 000 a year, including £100 000 in the form of Barclays shares. He will work at least four days a week.

The Cambridge University graduate is also expected to step down from his current positions as deputy chairperson of start-up bank NBNK Investments and as international advisory board member of National Bank of Kuwait.

He has been at Morgan Stanley since 1995, after working at the Bank of England from 1977 to 1993 and the Treasury from 1961 to 1977.

Shares in Barclays, which have lost 12% of their value over the last three months, closed at 179 pence before the announcement, valuing the business at about £21.9bn.

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barclays  |  interest rates
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