Changes at the top for Barclays and HSBC

| September 7, 2010
Changes at the top for Barclays and HSBC

Two of the UK’s leading banks have today announced changes in leadership.

Barclays’ chief executive, John Varley, will be departing next year and will be replaced by Bob Diamond, currently president of Barclays PLC and chief executive officer of the group’s Corporate and Investment Banking and Wealth Management units.

In addition HSBC chairman, Stephen Green, is moving on to take up the post of trade minister with the Coalition Government.

Both are well-respected bankers who have steered their banks through the financial crisis without the need for taxpayer support.

In the case of Barclays, Mr Diamond’s appointment will fuel speculation that the group may be looking to slim down its retail banking operations to focus on its investment banking activities.

In the six months to the end of June, the group reported pre-tax profit of £3.9 billion and earnings at Barclays Capital represented around 80% of overall profits.

Barclays is also in the process of creating 600 new jobs in Glasgow where it intends to establish a hub for its investment banking and wealth management operations.

However, Mr Diamond’s appointment could be greeted cautiously by politicians.

In April, the then Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, described him as the “unacceptable face” of banking, claiming Mr Diamond’s salary amounted to £63 million.

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