Leading article: The wrong Barclays head has rolled

 

Share
Related Topics

The wrong man has resigned in the scandal over Barclays and Libor. Knowledge of an attempt to manipulate rates would have been way below the pay grade of the bank's departing chairman, Marcus Agius, who steered the bank through the 2008 financial crisis without asking for a taxpayers' bailout. The chief executive, Bob Diamond, by contrast, was directly responsible for Barclays Capital at the time.

Senior management there was aware of the deception, which was designed to calm market jitters about the bank's stability, the Financial Services Authority investigation has found. When Mr Diamond, who has a reputation as a very hands-on manager, appears before the Treasury Select Committee tomorrow, MPs must confront him with the bald alternative that if he did not know about the rate-rigging, he is incompetent – and if he did know, he was complicit.

They should not be deceived by the resignation of Mr Agius, who had been planning to go next year after the emergence of vocal opposition at the last AGM to his proposal to increase Mr Diamond's annual pay package to £17.7m. Mr Agius, an old-style former investment banker, appears to have been too weak to manage the brash Mr Diamond.

The Barclays board remains unanimous that the American should stay because he is a top performer in an industry where making money seems to be the only yardstick. Finding a new chairman is easy; replacing Mr Diamond would be far harder. But this is the wrong judgement. He may be good at banking, but he misjudges its wider implications. Perhaps that didn't matter before; it does now.

Let us not forget that Mr Diamond is the man who gave a hostage to fortune by saying last year that the time for bankers to show remorse was over, when he knew the FSA investigation into Libor fixing was under way. While adept at the technicalities of banking, he would seem to have little grip on the reputational implications of such actions.

If Barclays is to restore its good name, it needs someone with a better grasp of both the politics and the ethics.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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