Barclays chief apologises over Bob Diamond pay row

 

The chairman of Barclays apologised to shareholders today as he moved to head off a showdown over the pay of chief executive Bob Diamond.

At the start of the bank's annual meeting, Marcus Agius admitted the bank's bosses "have not done a good enough job in articulating our case".

Mr Diamond received £17.7 million in salary, bonus, benefits and vested long-term share awards last year - despite admitting his bank's performance was "unacceptable".

The meeting was due to hear calls for remuneration committee chairman Alison Carnwath to stand down and for the 2011 pay report to be thrown out.

Mr Agius, who also faces a significant vote against his re-election, said: "I assure you that in the future we will be engaging differently and more purposefully with shareholders in order to ensure that we obtain a broader level of support on remuneration policy and practice."

Outside the meeting at Royal Festival Hall, the bank's bosses had to contend with dozens of protesters from the World Development Movement and Robin Hood Tax campaign.

The Robin Hood campaigners posed with a giant cheque to represent the implied subsidy provided to banks by the taxpayer.

Diarmaid McDonald, 31, with the Robin Hood movement, said: "We should not be held to ransom by the financial sector. They are as much part of this society as we are."

In front of hundreds of shareholders, Mr Agius's speech was interrupted by occasional heckling and sarcastic laughter.

Addressing anger over pay, he said: "There is a significant minority who feel we got some of those judgments wrong in 2011.

"Evidently we have not done a good enough job in articulating our case. In some matters we should have communicated more clearly."

He added: "We recognise the reputational damage that has been caused by the remuneration debate."

Mr Diamond followed the chairman and started by hailing the bank's first quarter results, published yesterday.

The bank recorded a 22% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £2.4 billion, driven by a strong performance at its UK retail arm.

Turning to pay, Mr Diamond said: "We recognise the shareholder concerns and we're committed to making further progress."

In addition, a £5.7 million tax payment made on Mr Diamond's behalf when he moved from the US to London to take up the role sparked particular anger among investor groups.

The American banker tried to win support by offering to take half of his £2.7 million all-shares bonus for 2011 if certain performance targets are not met within three years.

Mr Diamond was followed by Ms Carnwath, who introduced herself as "the new girl on the block".

Defending pay, Ms Carnwath said: "We reduced awards significantly in 2011."

In response, one shareholder heckled "Not enough", triggering laughter and applause from the auditorium.

Ms Carnwath went on: "We will continue to seek to push down remuneration levels in the context of the environment in which we operate."

Ms Carnwath was met with further taunts, such as "Why have you only just woken up to this?"

Mr Agius later called for the meeting to be held in a "responsible" and "adult" manner.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there