A senior director who was at the centre of the furore over Bob Diamond's pay at scandal-hit Barclays stepped down with immediate effect today.
Remuneration head Alison Carnwath cited "personal reasons" for her departure, which comes after the exit of Mr Diamond as chief executive and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier in the wake of the Libor-rigging affair.
The resignation will come as a surprise, particularly as the non-executive director was only named yesterday as a member of a sub-committee overseeing Barclays' internal review into its business practices.
Ms Carnwath is understood to have been in conflict with now executive chairman Marcus Agius, who will also step down in due course, over Mr Diamond's £2 million pay-off.
She also found herself at the heart of a shareholder rebellion earlier this year over Mr Diamond's 2011 pay package as some 23% of investors failed to back her re-election.
In a statement, Ms Carnwath, who also chairs property company Land Securities, said: "With regret I have concluded that I am no longer able to devote sufficient time to my role as a director of Barclays given my other commitments."
Her resignation will pile more pressure on a board already in crisis since UK and US regulators fined Barclays £290 million for manipulating the interbank lending rate.
The move also comes just two days before the bank publishes its half-year results, which are forecast to show a 3% rise in underlying profits to £3.8 billion.
Ms Carnwath was dragged into the debate over executive pay when it emerged Mr Diamond would receive around £18 million in salary, bonus, benefits and vested long-term share awards last year, despite admitting his bank's performance was "unacceptable" in 2011.
Speaking at the annual meeting, she told investors: "We will continue to seek to push down remuneration levels in the context of the environment in which we operate."
The excessive pay row reignited when Mr Diamond announced his resignation, with many commentators calling for the American banker to be denied all bonuses.
But Mr Diamond walked away with a year's salary and pension cash contribution worth £2 million after "voluntarily" waiving a potential £20 million in deferred share bonuses.
Ms Carnwath, who is a chartered accountant and holds a BA degree in Economics and German from the University of Reading, spent 20 years working in investment banking and corporate finance.