Outlook: Barclays poser
Thursday 08 April 1999
Mr Buxton is a nice enough chap and his knowledge of the bank, as well as his family's long association with it, going back several generations, might seem to justify something short of complete disassociation. This is very much the kind way of looking at what Sir Peter is doing, however.
A crueller one would be to regard it as typical of Barclays' inability to turn its back on the past and look to the future. It is never a good idea for executives to continue hanging around after they are meant to be gone; all they do is get in the way of and compromise the new.
This is the case even with chairmen who have proved themselves outstanding leaders. When Lord MacLaurin retired from Tesco at the age of 60, he made a clean break with the company. Rarely was a life presidency more deserved, but he rightly took the view he wouldn't be needed. The same is anticipated for Sir Richard Greenbury when he bows out at Marks & Spencer later this year.
By contrast, Mr Buxton has proved himself less than top notch. While managing director, he was intimately involved in some of the big property loans that put Barclays into loss in the early Nineties. That didn't stop him ascending to the position of executive chairman. It wasn't his fault that while he held this position the board was at sixes and sevens, culminating ultimately in the petulant walk out of the chief executive, Martin Taylor, but preventing this kind of a shambles is rather what a chairman is there for.
If Sir Peter is already compromising on Mr Buxton's position, what hope does he have of carrying out the urgent root-and-branch reform necessary to modernise the bank in preparation for the digital age? Presumably Mike O'Neill, the new chief executive, is made of sterner stuff. If he ever arrives, that is. When was he meant to join? Late March was the assigned date. So where is he? He had flu, and then there were some loose ends to tie up. He'll be at his desk by Monday at the latest, Barclays insists. Let's hope so.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Oscar de la Renta dead: Legendary US fashion designer dies after long cancer battle aged 82
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments
iJobs Money & Business
£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...
£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...
£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...