Thursday, 2 August 2012

Barclays (ouija) board says "non nein" to O'Donnell

According to Robert Peston, the BBC's chronicler of the credit crunch:
From my conversations with senior Barclays sources, I have learned there is a favoured candidate for each of its top vacancies.

The former head of the civil service, Lord O'Donnell, is the board of the bank's preferred choice as new chairman ...
Barclays faces the same problems as other banks at the moment – PPI, swaps, LIBOR, capital adequacy, maybe a bit of money-laundering thrown in, investigation by the US authorities, ... – with the added complication that it has to replace both its Chairman and its Chief Executive.

How likely is it that the board would choose as their new Chairman Sir-Gus-now-Lord O'Donnell, the architect of the credit crunch?

Not very, according to Martin Vander Weyer, Business Editor of The Spectator and son of an earlier Deputy Chairman of Barclays:
I don’t want to start a row with the hyper-sensitive BBC man as to who has the more senior Barclays sources — several of mine are so senior I can only reach them by ouija board — but I suspect someone has been feeding him hogwash.

... white smoke for the chair is unlikely before September ... everyone close to the process is sworn to secrecy, Gus O’Donnell is an underemployed ex-mandarin with minimal City experience ... So pace Pesto, I think the race is wide open.
Who is right? Peston or Vander Weyer?

No idea.

But our wellbeing and Barclays' will surely be better served if O'Donnell concentrates on his new responsibilities as Chairman of the Happiness Commission.

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Update
9 August 2012: Sir David Walker to succeed Marcus Agius as Barclays chairman
30 August 2012: Barclays names Antony Jenkins as chief executive

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