Marcus Agius, Barclays Bank chairman, resigns after scandal
Marcus Agius, Barclays Bank chairman, has confirmed his resignation, as the bank promises a “root and branch review” following the inter-bank lending rate-fixing scandal.
In his statement, Marcus Agius said: “The buck stops with me.”
Last week Barclays was fined £290 million ($450 million) for attempting to manipulate the Libor inter-bank lending rate.
Barclays’ chief executive Bob Diamond will appear before MPs on the Treasury Committee on Wednesday.
Marcus Agius is due to answer their questions on Thursday.
Barclays said Marcus Agius would remain in his post until “an orderly succession is assured”.
Marcus Agius said last week’s events were evidence of “unacceptable standards of behavior within the bank”.
He said the findings had “dealt a devastating blow” to Barclays’ reputation.
As a result Barclays’ board has launched an audit of its business practices, which will be conducted by an independent body and report to the new deputy chairman, Sir Michael Rake.
The bank promised:
• a “root and branch review” of its “flawed” past practices
• a public report of the audit’s findings
• a new mandatory code of conduct for all staff
Barclays will establish a “zero tolerance policy” to anything that damages its reputation, the bank said in the statement.
Sir Michael Rake, BT chairman and senior independent director at Barclays, has been appointed deputy chairman at the bank. He is seen as a likely successor to Marcus Agius.
Sir John Sunderland, a non-executive director of Barclays, will begin the search for a new chairman from Monday.
Barclays was fined after the Financial Services Authority (FSA) found its traders had lied about the interest rate other banks were charging it for loans. Investigations are also under way at RBS, HSBC, Citigroup and UBS.
Giving a lower reading than the true rate would give the impression that Barclays was considered a better lending risk than it actually was.
Reporting a higher reading than the real rate could have inflated trading profits artificially, misleading investors and regulators.
Libor (London Inter Bank Offered Rate) is the rate at which banks in London lend money to each other.
Chief executive Bob Diamond said Marcus Agius’s decision “deserves all of our respect” and paid tribute to his six years as chairman: “He has been a thoughtful and supportive colleague to me in all of my roles – especially since I became chief executive last year.”
Bob Diamond also welcomed plans for an independent audit: “I am committed to ensuring that the recommendations from this review are implemented in full.”
He promised to “continue to build a culture that all of those with a stake in Barclays can be proud of”.
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