People and Business: O'Neill `threat'

ONE COMMENT by Michael O'Neill which has been missed by coverage of his appointment to the helm of Barclays Bank has been his reaction to one journalist's question last Friday: "Have you ever killed anyone?"

The 52-year-old former US marine replied coolly: "Not yet". Chilling words for staff at the underperforming bank.

One militaristic touch at Barclays' head office in Lombard Street should help to make Mr O'Neill feel at home. The chairman's dining room is called "The Chairman's Mess".

Perhaps this is the legacy of Andrew Buxton, the outgoing chairman of Barclays, who is a former Guardsman. Mr Buxton is the last member of the original 20 Quaker families that built Barclays in the last century. As one wag commented on the transfer of power: "From Quaker to shaker".

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