Barclays Confusion Continues
LONDON -- When a company gets into troubled waters, what investors want to see is a firm hand at the tiller and a clear route through to calmer seas. But that's exactly what is lacking at Barclays (ISE: BARC.L) , where there's clear idea of who's supposed to be in charge.
When the LIBOR scandal broke, we witnessed much wringing of hands from chief executive Bob Diamond, who famously sent a lengthy letter to the bank's staff telling them how he was going to clean up the operation. He insisted he was not going to resign, apparently believing that he was the right man to steer the bank away from the rocks.
But barely a week later, on July 3, we heard that Diamond had resigned -- after what is widely seen as a fair bit of pressure from the Financial Services Authority and Sir Mervyn King of the Bank of England.
Chief operating officer Jerry del Missier also stepped down, leaving the running of the company in the hands of chairman Marcus Agius. But, um, hang on -- he had already resigned the day before. He then had to delay his departure until the search for a new chief is concluded.
Other banks also fell under the scrutiny of the LIBOR investigation, including Royal Bank of Scotland, which had already sacked some staff suspected of being involved, Lloyds Banking Group, Citigroup in the U.S., and Germany's Deutsche Bank. But at least they haven't followed it with utter confusion in their board rooms. And it continues...
Nobody wants it!
We now hear that the favorite to land the chairman's job, current deputy Sir Michael Rake, has snubbed the poisoned chalice after large shareholders made it clear they want someone from outside -- and he must be exhausted from all the work he does as chairman of easyJet and BT Group, anyway. So even Agius' shoes remain empty.
The current hot tips for the top two jobs are former cabinet secretary Lord O'Donnell for chairman, and Bill Winters, previously of JPMorgan, for chief executive. But nobody has any clue whether they want them.
And it could all be up in the air again after the bank hired ex-lawyer and investment banker Anthony Salz to head up a review of its corporate culture in order to determine how it needs to change -- bringing us back to what Bob Diamond was promising almost a month ago.
It's anybody's guess who will be in charge this time next month.
Did you buy any shares?
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And if you fancy a change of career, it sounds like Barclays has some vacancies.
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The article Barclays Confusion Continues originally appeared on Fool.com.Alan Oscroft does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.