Barclays looks set to appoint former JP Morgan James Staley as its new chief executive, ending a period of uncertainty about the Wharf bank’s direction.
The hedge fund manager – known as “Jes” – works at BlueMountain Capital Management in the US and his appointment signals a return to “business as usual” with a return of emphasis to investment banking.
The previous CEO Anthony Jenkins was fired in July. He fell out with new chairman John McFarlane with his insistence on reviving the bank’s High Street and customer focus. Mr McFarlane said shareholders were seeing a “lacklustre” performance and installed himself as executive chairman.
Mr Staley, 58 and a keen sailor, was chief executive of JP Morgan’s investment banking and asset management, and led the bank’s “expansion in to alternative investments”. His appointment to the Canary Wharf bank is subject to regulatory approval.
His name is not a new one in Barclays circles. He lost out to Mr Jenkins in the battle for the top job in 2012. “I think the Barclays conversations ultimately helped me define what I was really after,” Mr Staley said in a 2013 interview with The Wall Street Journal when he left JP Morgan.
In July, Barclays bank reported a 25% rise in pre-tax profits to £3.1billion for the six months to the end of June although it is still forking out millions in compensation and fines over its involvement in various cash scandals.
Barclays has scaled back its operations and allowed the US banks to steal a march in the post-crisis world, according to Mr McFarlane who said “US banks are the only ones that really claim to be global and successful”.