Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius resigned from his post after a LIBOR rigging scandal resulted in a fine of 290 million pounds ($455 million). However, despite calls for his ouster as well, CEO Bob Diamond remained at the helm, even as the bank said it would conduct a “root and branch review” of past “flawed” practices.
Reuters reported Monday that Agius resigned while politicians called for Diamond to be booted as well, even as they planned to grill the two later in the week over the details of the scheme. In a statement, Agius said, “Last week’s events—evidencing as they do unacceptable standards of behavior within the bank—have dealt a devastating blow to Barclays’ reputation … The buck stops with me, and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside.”
But John Mann, a Labour politician who is part of the group that will question Diamond on Wednesday and Agius on Thursday, was quoted saying, “The buck in Barclays stops with Bob Diamond, and it is Bob Diamond who must accept responsibility.”
Mann added, “He must resign. He’s got to go. There is no role for people like him if banking is to be trusted again in this country and if British banking is to restore its tarnished reputation in the world, which of course is of great importance to our economy.”
Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, said in a BBC report that “restoring trust” in British banks was of the utmost importance. “I really don’t think that can be done by Bob Diamond,” he added.
Miliband called for a full public inquiry into the banking industry and the introduction of a new professional code for bankers, as well as for criminal charges to be brought against those involved in rate fixing.
Bloomberg reported that Diamond issued a statement saying in part, “I am committed to ensuring that the recommendations from this review are implemented in full.”
However, despite that promise, investors are not pleased with Diamond’s determination to remain at his post. One top 25 investor at Barclays who asked not to be identified was quoted saying, “I still think it is going to be hard for Bob Diamond to keep his job. I don’t think he has built up enough shareholder goodwill in the past to be able to ride this one out.”
Former Barclays director Baroness Wheatcroft said that although Agius was currently “carrying the can,” Diamond’s resignation was “inevitable.”