Honour for Barclays pay row woman

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Barclays branch

A former Barclays director who revealed how she clashed with former boss Bob Diamond over "obscene" pay at the bank has been made a dame.

Alison Carnwath had been at the centre of a furore over the chief executive's £18 million package when she quit as head of remuneration.


She later told the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards that Mr Diamond was reluctant to accept that pay at the bank was too high and that the board ignored recommendations to withhold his bonus for 2011.

Dame Alison welcomed the honour "in an age when trust in big business is scarce".

Her departure from Barclays in July last year, citing "personal reasons", followed the exit of Mr Diamond, as well as chief operating officer Jerry del Missier, in the wake of the bank's £290 million fine over the Libor rate-rigging scandal.

Dame Alison had found herself at the centre of a shareholder rebellion over the chief executive's 2011 pay package when 23% of investors failed to back her re-election.

Mr Diamond received an £18 million package for the previous year including salary, benefits, long-term share awards and a near £2 million bonus - which was around 75% of the maximum payout.

In her evidence to the commission, Dame Alison said she was "amazed" at the planned payout, but said her recommendation fell on deaf ears.

She said her judgment had been that amid poor returns for shareholders, Mr Diamond ought to set an example "that remuneration policies had to change".

Dame Alison added: "A culture of entitlement has emerged in banking for a variety of reasons.

"This has resulted in the fear of losing good people, obscene levels of award in a minority of cases and excessive reward in many cases."

She later revealed in an interview that she had argued that by sacrificing his bonus, Mr Diamond would have shown "great leadership" and that she was "somewhat disconcerted" that nobody else on the remuneration committee agreed.

"History tells me I was right," she told the Mail on Sunday.

Dame Alison, who spent 20 years working in investment banking and corporate finance, has been chairman of property company Land Securities since 2008.

Welcoming the honour, she said: "In an age when trust in big business is scarce, this honour is very welcome - both personally, but also for the values that long-established companies such as Land Securities espouse."

Elsewhere on the honours list, Virgin Money chief executive Jayne Anne Gadhia - another senior woman linked to the world of banking - receives a CBE.

Virgin Money was one of the first banks - apart from brands owned by state-backed banking groups Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds - to sign up to the controversial latest phase of the Government's Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.