Barings look to future as 21 are asked to leave

Barings is expected to start recruiting in the coming weeks to reinforce its securities and banking businesses following the enforced resignations yesterday of 21 senior executives. "For anyone prepared to go north while most people are going south, joining Barings offers a great opportunity," said one insider.

ING, the new Dutch owner, called for the resignation of everyone in Barings' London, Singapore and Tokyo offices who had had direct-line responsibility for the derivatives business in the Far East which broke the bank under nearly £900m of losses.

The most prominent victim yesterday was Peter Norris, the former chief executive officer of Barings Investment Bank. Ronald Baker, the head of the futures trading group which employed Nick Leeson, the Singapore trader responsible for the ruinous derivatives speculation, also departed.

Together with the earlier resignations of Peter Baring, the ex-chairman, and Andrew Tuckey, the ex-chief executive, the number of senior victims of the Barings debacle now totals 23.

Some of them are likely to find it very difficult to get jobs again in the City. The Bank of England, after the completion of its current enquiry into how Barings collapsed, may decide to blackball certain key individuals judged to have been guilty of gross incompetence and managerial negligence.

While the list of departures is long, it has not left gaping holes in Barings operations, insiders said. Nearly all of the dismissed 21 had been sidelined from being involved in active management as long ago as mid-March. Their posts were filled by a number of ING directors, who have taken over board level responsibilities for Barings, as well as experts from ING's international operations and other Barings employees who have moved up.

"Management holes do not exist at the moment, but there will be a definite need for new people to exploit the capacity of the business," said a source close to ING.

Hessel Lindenbergh, the ING board member who now heads Barings, said the mass departures were essential to clear the difficult atmosphere within the firm and to restore morale among both remaining staff and clients.

A number of US broking firms who in the past brought substantial regular business to Barings had made clear they were waiting for the removal of the key people judged to have been responsible for the failure to control Nick Leeson's activities.

"Our review has confirmed that the problem stemming from Singapore was extraordinary and not endemic. It is a problem we have put behind us. We now turn to our attention to the future," said Mr Lindenbergh yesterday.

"Before the events leading to the acquisition, no one questioned the standing of Barings. In corporate finance, in asset management, in securities trading, in all its other service areas, the name of Barings was rightly held in the highest regard," he said. "These are strengths that do not disappear because of an isolated event, however calamitous, in one part of the operation."

Resignations and Departures

London

Peter Norris Chief Executive, Baring Inv. Bank

Ron Baker Head, Financial Products Group

Geoffrey Broadhurst Finance Director

Tony Gamby Head, Settlements

Brenda Granger Head,Futures & Options Settlements

Anthony Hawes Treasurer

Ian Hopkins Head, Group Treasury & Risk

George MacLean Head, Bank Group

Helen Smith Manager, Market Risk

Mary Walz Global Head, Equity Derivavtives

Singapore

James Bax Regional Manager, South East Asia

Simon Jones Regional Ops Manager, SEAsia

Rachel Young Financial Controller

Tokyo

William Daniel Branch Manager, Japan

Fernando Gueler Head, Equity Derivatives

Motoharu Hanawa Treasurer

Hideo Kaneko Head,Settlements

Vincent Sue Risk Manager

Satoshi Yamanda Head,Futures &Options Settlements

Teruo Yashima Financial Controller/Manager Osaka

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