Barclays GC is Latest Executive Casualty of LIBOR Scandal
Group general counsel Mark Harding is saying goodbye to Barclays, the latest in a string of executive departures following the LIBOR interest rate scandal that ensnared the bank last summer.
On Sunday, the U.K. bank announced that both Harding and group finance director Chris Lucas will retire soon. Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins characterized their decisions to retire as theirs alone and grounded in wanting to do what is best for the bank, according to a statement. Harding will remain in his position at the bank until a successor is named.
The announcement comes just as Barclays plans to unveil the results of a post-scandal strategic review and implement changes over the next five to 10 years. Jenkins said the bank is at an inflection point.
The LIBOR fall-out has cost Barclays hundreds of millions of dollars, and prompted a major shake-up in senior leadership.
Last June, the bank agreed to pay more than $450 million to U.K. and U.S. authorities to settle charges that it attempted to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate, a key global interest rate known as LIBOR.
Barclays former group chief executive Robert Diamond and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier resigned the following month. Jenkins, who previously led retail and business banking at Barclays, took the helm, while former Bank of England official Sir David Walker replaced Marcus Agius as board chairman. Now leading the Barclays compliance division is Hector Sants, the former head of the U.K. Financial Services Authority, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Harding has served as Barclays group GC since 2003. Prior to heading up the banks legal function, he logged nearly two decades in private practice with Clifford Chance, having first joined Coward Chance in 1980. Harding also served as general counsel at UBSs investment bank from 1996 to 2000.
As more Barclays executives march toward the exits, it seems likely that more U.K. bank execs could follow suit as authorities continue to investigate alleged interest rate manipulation.
This week, the Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to face penalties of up to 500 million pounds in connection with alleged LIBOR rigging. U.K. finance minister George Osborne told Reuters that it is quite well known that RBS are thinking about changes among its senior ranks.
"It is right that those who are responsiblenot just those who are directly responsible, but also those who were dong the supervisingmust also bear a level of responsibility," said the chancellor, who on Monday also introduced the Banking Reform Bill to the British Parliament.
The chief general counsel of the Institutional Investors Tort Recovery Association, which monitors LIBOR-related claims for its membership of pension funds and insurance companies, noted the announcements by Barclays and the finance minster with some optimism.
Incidentally, whilst the chief executive of Barclays has announced a change of culture at the bank, the chancellor is also announcing changes to the banking industry, David Seidel told CorpCounsel.com in an email. These changes should be welcomed if they restore integrity to the U.K. banking system.