Barclays shares get lift from chairman appointment

AP News
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Posted: Aug 10, 2012 6:58 AM

LONDON (AP) — Investors and analysts reacted positively Friday to Barclays' appointment of its new chairman, Sir David Walker, an industry veteran who has called for curbs on the banking industry's excesses.

The scandal-hit bank announced on Thursday that Walker, whose former posts include deputy governor of the Bank of England and chairman of Morgan Stanley International, would become chairman on Nov. 1.

He replaces Marcus Agius, who offered his resignation after Barclays was fined $453 million by U.S. and British regulators for manipulating a key market index, the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR).

Gary Greenwood, analyst at Shore Capital, cheered the appointment, in part because Walker has no previous connection with Barclays and its problems.

"We struggle to see how the board could have found a better candidate for the role given his long career in financial services, including both investment banking and retail banking, close connections with the Treasury and Bank of England, and his keen interest in corporate governance," Greenwood said.

Ian Gordon at Investec Securities called the appointment "politically safe and usefully quick."

Barclays shares were up 3.4 percent at 185 pence by late morning on the London Stock Exchange, outperforming the FTSE 100 index, which was trading 0.2 percent lower.

Walker, 72, says he will be "fully engaged" in the selection of a chief executive to replace Bob Diamond, who also resigned in the wake of the LIBOR scandal.

Walker led a review of corporate governance in the financial sector published in 2009 which criticized "inadequate control, unduly narrow focus and serious excess in some instances" in executive pay. He called for boards to be involved in setting pay for all senior bank executives, not just members of the board.

He also called for board chairmen to devote two-third of their time to that job, and for board members to devote at least 30 days a year to the job. Walker will be paid 750,000 pounds ($1.17 million) a year as chairman, of which 100,000 pounds will be paid in shares, the bank said.