Barclays hires the City's clean-up man Sir David Walker as chairman to restore damaged image

 

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The Independent Online

Barclays last night hired City grandee Sir David Walker on a salary of £750,000 to take over as chairman with the brief of mending the bank's battered reputation.

Sir David, currently senior adviser to Morgan Stanley International and a former deputy chairman at Lloyds Bank, is perhaps best-known for heading a review into banking following the Lehman Brothers collapse and subsequent financial crisis.

He will take over from current chairman Marcus Agius, who resigned his post in the wake of the Libor scandal, only to have to return on a temporary basis when chief executive Bob Diamond quit over the affair.

Sir David will start his post in November after a four-week run-in as a non-executive director. The job will give him the chance to practice what he preached in his banking review: one of its main findings was that chairman of big City banks should be tougher.

He also advised the Financial Services Authority on its probe into the collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland.

He is a career investment banker, and his review also recommended better trained non-executive directors and a demand for all banks to declare each year how many of their staff earned more than £1m.

Barclays said £30,000 of his pay will be in shares. He will work no fewer than four days a week.

He said last night: "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 is known to hold strong views about the excesses of London bankers in the past, once saying: "It is is outrageous that we've been left all this debt. I'm a grandfather. It's not just my children but my grandchildren [who will be left paying].

The speed of the appointment surprised many banking analysts, as it came only a month after Agius resigned.

"It's very fast work," said one analyst. "More important than that, though, is whether he's the right man for the job. Time will tell."

Key to Sir David's role will be dealing with the government on the issue of ring-fencing Barclays' retail banking business from its investment bank.

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