PA ANALYSIS: Barclays jettisons Jenkins to accelerate pace

Barclays’s decision to jettison CEO Antony Jenkins indicates that as the bank moves on with its restructuring process, time is of the essence.

PA ANALYSIS: Barclays jettisons Jenkins to accelerate pace


Just three years into what can only be described as the monumental task of whittling down Barclays’ raft of non-core businesses into a more streamlined operation, Jenkins found himself on the wrong end of the headlines.

The bank explained that, while the situation that Jenkins “inherited would have challenged anyone”, its board had “concluded that new leadership is required to accelerate the pace of execution going forward”.

In a nutshell, Jenkins lost his job because he was not moving fast enough. But is that all?

James Box, banking analyst at Brewin Dolphin, believes that the determining factor was the arrival of John McFarlane, who joined the Barclays board as chairman in April. During his time as Aviva chairman, McFarlane demonstrated that he is not one to waste any time when it comes to implementing changes.

“This is history repeating itself,” said Box. “As soon as McFarlane was on the scene, Jenkins’ days were numbered.

“When McFarlane turned up at Aviva, within four months the dividend was slashed and the CEO was sent packing, followed by him bringing his own man in with a clear mandate.”

“I was surprised by the timing, but not by the outcome,” added Rob James, banking analyst on Old Mutual Global Investors’ UK equity desk.

“Considering that McFarlane has only been in his post for a few weeks the move was much faster than anticipated, but, based on his time at Aviva, he is clearly a man who gets things moving very quickly and in a forthright manner.”

Both are clearly in agreement that Jenkins’ departure was a matter of when not if, and – despite McFarlane’s declaration that Barclays is not in a “massive rush” to find a replacement – that the bank is cognisant of the importance of speeding up the restructuring process.

But how will this weigh on the appointment of a successor?


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