View from City Road: Interesting plans at Barclays

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The Independent Online
Management, what management? Barclays, like most of the clearing banks, has been run for years by bankers - many of them over-promoted, few of them skilled in the ways of running large organisations.

Yesterday, the board agreed the first stage of a reorganisation plan devised by Martin Taylor, the professional manager brought in from Courtaulds Textiles. The idea is to keep the bankers, but manage them so that they work more effectively.

Much of it is plain commonsense. Barclays' business has long been split into two: investment banking at BZW, run by David Band, and mainstream banking, run by Alastair Robinson (ignoring the more specialised services division).

But customers do not look at their banking that way, especially the big corporate names that may want a Eurobond issue one day and new money transmission services the next.

Mr Taylor aims to end the polarisation between BZW and the bank, reorganising the group along functional lines to fit the customers.

But this is detail, some of it an overdue borrowing of ideas from rival banks. The more important structural change is that Mr Taylor is attempting to give Barclays the top management it lacked when it was run by an executive chairman and a small cabal of bankers from the operating businesses. It's going to be fascinating to see whether he can make it work.