New Barclays chairman plans review

BarclaysBarclays' new chairman Sir David Walker plans to undertake a root and branch review of the way the bank operates, it has been reported.

Sir David told The Sunday Telegraph he agrees "in principle" with customers paying to use current accounts and the end of the free banking model. The City grandee, who was appointed on Thursday and will take up the role on November 1, has set a 24-month deadline by which time he hopes the bank will be on firmer footing.
Sir David will replace Marcus Agius, who announced his intention to resign in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal that left Barclays' reputation in tatters and sent shockwaves through the entire industry.

The former chairman of Morgan Stanley International will be tasked with steering the bank through the most turbulent period in its history, including appointing a new chief executive after the rate-fixing affair claimed the scalp of Bob Diamond.

Sir David told the Sunday newspaper that his highest priorities were appointing a new chief executive, reforming compensation and bringing about a changed culture. He said he would like to speed up the process of "ring-fencing" so that the bank is functionally separated before the 2019 deadline set by the Government.

And he admitted that in principle he favours charging for bank accounts and services, and branded recent mis-selling episodes, such as interest rate swaps to small companies and payment protection insurance, as "the consequence of not charging for bank accounts".

Asked about the ideal candidate for a chief executive, he told The Sunday Telegraph: "He's a polymath. Leaving aside where he's come from, whether or not he's an investment banker or a retail banker, he needs to be confident of leading in a lateral way. These are well-performing businesses, and we need to be confident that the new leadership at the executive level should be able to straddle both."

Sir David stopped short of suggesting any major change to Barclays' investment banking operations - formerly known as Barclays Capital - and added "my view is that this should continue to be a universal bank".

Sir David has already spoken to Anthony Salz, the former lawyer drafted in to lead a review of the bank's business practices and culture. Linking culture with pay, he said: "There are lots of (pay) arrangements undermining what you think would be good standards of culture."

However he admitted there was a "sense of crisis" around these issues, and said it was necessary to resolve them swiftly.

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