• Barclays chief executive steps down
• Shock resignation stuns City
Political reaction to Diamond’s resignation is flooding in.
Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary, has welcomed the news:
Bob Diamond deserves credit for doing the decent and honourable thing
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) July 3, 2012
While former deputy prime minister John Prescott is stunned that Marcus Agius is back as chairman, just a day after stating that the buck stopped with him.
I thought ‘the buck stopped’ with Marcus Agius? Now he’s unresigned and Bob Diamond’s gone. Did Agius pass the buck to Bob?
— John Prescott (@johnprescott) July 3, 2012
Bob Diamond’s resignation comes in the face of relentless political pressure for his resignation (Labour leader Ed Miliband called for him to step down, while prime minister David Cameron declined to back Diamond last Friday).
Our City editor Jill Treanor:
An attempt by the board to save his position by accepting the resignation of chairman Marcus Agius on Monday has failed. Instead Agius will now become full-time chairman and will lead the search for a new chief executive.
In a stunning turnaround – only on Monday the 60-year old chief executive was pledging to stay – Diamond is to go immediately after 15 year career with the bank and only 18 months as chief executive.
The former investment banker Bill Winters, who sat the independent commission on banking, will be regarded as a candidate to suceed Diamond whose attempts to focus on the bank’s commitment to “citizenship” have speculatorly backfired.
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott has swiftly welcomed the news of Bob Diamond’s resignation, and again called for prosecuations against those responsible for the Libor scandal.
Oakeshott told Sky News:
This is a great day. Bob Diamond was the greedy gambler, personified.
What really matters now is that the criminals inside Barclays, that they are charged and they are convicted and the full force of the law is brought to bare.
Stealing money as a banker is the same thing as stealing from a house.
Barclays shares have fallen in early trading — dropping around 3% to 163p. They are likely to be volatile this morning, as investors digest the implications of Bob Diamond’s resignation.
While Bob Diamond has resigned, chairman Marcus Agius has made a spectacular return to corporate life. Having resigned yesterday, Agius is now reinstated as fulltime chairman of the bank, and must now find a replacement for Diamond.
Bob Diamond’s shock resignation
comes six days after Barclays was fined £59.5m for attempting to manipulate the Libor rate — the rate at which London banks lend to each other.
It follows the government’s decision to organise a parliamentary investigation into the Libor scandal, which is thought to also involve a string of over banks in the City, and beyond.
The news that the Serious Fraud Office was also investigating whether any Barclays staff should be charged — a development welcomed by chancellor George Osborne yesterday — also piled the pressure on the bank.
This timeline shows how the crisis has developed since last Wednesday.
Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays, has resigned, following the Libor scandal that has rocked the bank in the last few days.
The shock news was announced in the last few minutes. Here’s Barclays formal statement to shareholders
Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC (Barclays)
Barclays today announces the resignation of Bob Diamond as Chief Executive and a Director of Barclays with immediate effect. Marcus Agius will become full-time Chairman and will lead the search for a new Chief Executive. Marcus will chair the Barclays Executive Committee pending the appointment of a new Chief Executive and he will be supported in discharging these responsibilities by Sir Michael Rake, Deputy Chairman.
The search for a new Chief Executive will commence immediately and will consider both internal and external candidates. The businesses will continue to be managed by the existing leadership teams.
Bob Diamond said “I joined Barclays 16 years ago because I saw an opportunity to build a world class investment banking business. Since then, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most talented, client-focused and diligent people that I have ever come across. We built world class businesses together and added our own distinctive chapter to the long and proud history of Barclays. My motivation has always been to do what I believed to be in the best interests of Barclays. No decision over that period was as hard as the one that I make now to stand down as Chief Executive. The external pressure placed on Barclays has reached a level that risks damaging the franchise – I cannot let that happen.
I am deeply disappointed that the impression created by the events announced last week about what Barclays and its people stand for could not be further from the truth. I know that each and every one of the people at Barclays works hard every day to serve our customers and clients. That is how we support economic growth and the communities in which we live and work. I look forward to fulfilling my obligation to contribute to the Treasury Committee’s enquiries related to the settlements that Barclays announced last week without my leadership in question.
I leave behind an extraordinarily talented management team that I know is well placed to help the business emerge from this difficult period as one of the leaders in the global banking industry.”
Commenting, Marcus Agius said, “Bob Diamond has made an enormous contribution to Barclays over the last 16 years of distinguished service to the Group, building Barclays Investment Bank into one of the leading global investment banks in the world. As Chief Executive he has led the bank superbly. I look forward to working closely with the Chief Executives of our businesses and the other members of the executive Committee in leading Barclays world class businesses in serving our customers and clients and delivering value for our shareholders.”
More to follow!