Former Barclays executive Bob Diamond has poached a former senior colleague to become chief executive of his new African banking venture, Atlas Mara.
John Vitalo, currently chief executive of Barclays Middle East and North Africa, will join Atlas Mara once his departure terms have been agreed. At present he works from Barclays’ offices in the United Arab Emirates.
Vitalo, a former US marine, joined Barclays’ investment banking arm, Barclays Capital, in 2002 when it was run by Diamond, pictured. The two worked closely together on setting up the equivalent business, Absa Capital, at Barclays’ South African bank subsidiary.
Diamond said: “I am delighted that John has agreed to become Atlas Mara’s chief executive.
“I have worked with him over many years. He is a business builder, deeply knowledgeable in the critical areas of technology and risk and he is trusted by his colleagues and clients. I couldn’t imagine a better leader for this group.”
Barclays declined to comment on Vitalo’s poaching.
It came just a day after the bank settled a long-standing court case based on the Libor scandal which could have seen Diamond and other former senior executives called to give evidence.
Barclays reached an out-of-court settlement, restructuring a £70 million interest-rate swap it had arranged for Guardian Care Homes, which claimed that it had known about Libor rigging at the time.
Atlas also said that it had signed a deal to take over the commercial arm of the Development Bank of Rwanda on the 20th anniversary of the genocide there. Diamond’s co-founder, Ashish Thakkar, was a refugee from the genocide.
Diamond and Thakkar put $20 million (£11.9 million) into Atlas and raised a further $305 million through a placing on the London stock market in December.
The shares have since risen from 10p to 11.4p.