Barclays chief axed over growth

Anthony Jenkins failed to move Barclays into hoped for growth
Anthony Jenkins failed to move Barclays into hoped for growth

The chairman of Barclays said chief executive Antony Jenkins was fired after lacklustre revenue growth as the banking giant’s shares remain at the level they were six years ago.

Recently hired chairman John McFarlane, who is taking over duties from Mr Jenkins as executive chairman on an interim basis, said the bank needed a new leader to speed up change after it had become “cumbersome”.

Barclays confirmed Mr Jenkins had already left the bank, with reports suggesting the former chief executive fell out with the board over strategy and the pace of cost cutting.

Shares in Barclays jumped three per cent after the announcement.

Mr McFarlane said Mr Jenkins had handled the bank’s management and image crisis “brilliantly” since his appointment three years ago after the Libor rate-fixing scandal.

But he added: “That phase is now over.”

Mr McFarlane said the bank needed “more rapid revenue growth”.

He said: “The share price of the bank is the same at it was six years ago, and our dividends are low and flat.”

Mr McFarlane added that the lender also had to improve its cost control and capital performance.

He said: “We have 375 management committees at Barclays. We are too cumbersome, and need to become leaner. Our senior managers tell us there is too much bureaucracy, and they want to be trusted to make decisions.”

Mr McFarlane met his senior managers yesterday and said they had already “pushed the button for growth” on a number of areas across the bank’s commercial and investment banking operations.

He said he would outline the group’s new strategy at its interim results on July 29.

Mr McFarlane - who will officially become executive chairman on July 17 when he retires as chairman of bus and train operator FirstGroup - said Mr Jenkins had began to lose the confidence of his non-executive board two weeks ago, when “rumblings of concern” arose over the pace of revenue growth.

Mr McFarlane said that he had told Mr Jenkins he had to go last week, with the board ratifying the decision on Tuesday night.