View from City Road: Knives sharpened at Barclays

Martin Taylor, the disconcertingly youthful new broom at Barclays, would be well advised to keep a keen eye over his shoulder.

The former Courtaulds wunderkind took time off yesterday from his comprehensive restructuring of the bank to explain to journalists how it will work in practice. He waxed lyrical on Barclays' previous inadequacies, to the clear discomfort of the bank's press advisers and to the now incandescent rage of many of the Barclays old guard.

If he listened carefully, Mr Taylor might already hear the distant sound of knives being sharpened. But as he readily admits, 'No-one likes restructurings'. One immediate victim seems to be Alastair Robinson, whose former post of chief executive of the banking division no longer exists. Barclays has done its level best to dress up Mr Robinson's new responsibilities but it is hard to avoid the impression that he is being sidelined.

Hosts of other senior executives can expect similar upheavals. Mr Taylor has plenty of support in the City for his reforms, but one slip and the knives will be out. Et tu, Brute?