Hector Sants takes 'stress leave' from Barclays role

Former FSA head is latest banking executive to step aside after suffering exhaustion

Sir Hector Sants, one of the most senior bankers of his generation, has become the latest top executive forced to quit temporarily due to stress.

Sir Hector, formerly the chief executive of the regulator the Financial Services Authority, is taking three months off from his post at Barclays as head of compliance at a time when it has been through a host of legal and regulatory scandals.

It was a shock move reminiscent of the temporary stepping-back of Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio in 2011. A Barclays spokesman said Sir Hector's decision to step back was due to a diagnosis of "exhaustion and stress". His illness will inevitably give rise to renewed calls for the high stress levels of City workers to be dealt with.

Sir Hector, who is thought to be on a £3m deal, was one of the chief architects of banking regulatory policy through the global financial crisis, and took on his post at Barclays in January.He is expected to be off work for about three months, not returning until the new year.

The career banker bore the brunt of many bruising encounters with politicians on the Treasury Select Committee during the financial crisis as the regulator took the blame for inadequate supervision of nationalised Northern Rock's risky business model. Friends at Barclays pointed out how he had leaped into his high-octane post at Barclays after five intense years at the regulator without really having taken any time to rest.

The Barclays position was a huge challenge, with Sir Hector tasked with preparing a bank for a new generation of global regulations. His department has grown by several hundred staff in London and New York in recent months as the organisation grapples with the plethora of new rules. Meanwhile, pressure on the bank to be seen to comply with best practice has never been greater amid scandals like the Libor fixing affair and allegations of improper payments in Qatar during Barclays' fundraising efforts there in 2008.

He was also closely involved with the recent £5.8bn rights issue – a stressful and massive project forced upon Barclays suddenly by regulators who claimed it did not have big enough capital buffers. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported there had been "fractious" relationships with some senior colleagues – allegations that Barclays denied. Insiders said that his health had recently been worsening.

Sir Hector's illness raised questions over whether his boss, new chief executive Antony Jenkins, was driving his senior staff too hard. Mr Jenkins has staked his reputation on cleaning up the image of the bank with regulators and the public.

Banks have taken measures since the financial crisis to help alleviate dangerously high stress levels among staff. However, only last month, the father of a Bank of America Merrill Lynch intern who died after working three all-nighters in a row, declared not enough was being done to deal with the City's long-hours culture.

Prior to his positions at the regulator and the Bank of England, Sir Hector had held senior posts in the private sector, running Credit Suisse First Boston's European operations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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

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...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

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