Sense has suddenly broken out at 1 Churchill Place, with Barclays appointing "the only viable internal candidate" for CEO, as Patrick Jenkins in the FT puts it. As everyone seems to be keen to point out, Antony Jenkins (no relation!) is everything his predecessor, Bob Diamond, is not. A retail banker to his socks, he is British, understated and engaging. I've had the pleasure of working with him a great deal and the first time I met him he was looking after his son's frog collection in a box in his office.
But the past is another country, and what people want to know is what he is going to do to change the culture of Barclays, which has for a long time felt that it was in thrall to a bunch of (largely American) investment bankers led by Mr Diamond, known internally as RED (for Robert E Diamond).
These are a few issues in Mr Jenkins' in-tray:
• How to convince people he knows enough about investment banking to reign in the excesses of the business, up till recently known as Barclays Capital, without killing the golden goose? Currently that business is run by the wonderfully named Rich Ricci, a long time RED lieutenant. Whether he sticks with Mr Ricci or brings in someone new, Mr Jenkins needs to show that he is the boss
• Will he need a new finance director? The spectre of both a Serious Fraud Office and a Financial Service Authority probe into the Qatar fund raising hangs like a sword of Damocles above the head of incumbent Chris Lucas. I suspect no criminal charges will emerge but it is hard to see him coming out of this without reputational damage, and Barclays needs people untainted by the past to lead it into the future. The fact that Mr Jenkins has years of experience at Barclays allows him to bring in an outsider more easily than if Barclays had hired a CEO from outside
• Will he maintain RED's "citizenship" agenda? Mr Jenkins is genuinely committed to the idea that the bank has a key role in society. He has long talked about the 4 Cs - community, colleague, customer and company - as a way of looking at priorities. He needs to maintain the commitment but use a new vernacular so that he owns this initiative rather than looking like he is continuing Mr Diamond's
• Will he also continue RED's "one Barclays" mantra, which saw everything from risk management to branding increasingly centralised? This always struck me as a challenge to the Independent Commission on Banking's recommendation - taken up by the UK Government - that investment banking and retail banking should be separated. Mr Jenkins has already talked about a commitment to universal banking - doing everything from equity issues to ISAs - but he needs to show how this will fit in with the Government's desire for "two Barclays"
• There are a few international issues to worry folk - not least Spain, where Barclays is a major lender, and South Africa, where the economy hasn't been too friendly. But Mr Jenkins knows these well so there shouldn't be too many surprises
• And let's not forget retail banking, which frankly a lot in the City do. Mr Jenkins has a good track record in turning around both Barclaycard and the UK retail bank as well as getting rid of some of the more foolish deals done by Frits Seegers when he was running the retail bank. Retail will become more of the focus for Barclays going forward and Mr Jenkins needs to keep his foot on the pedal to ensure it continues to deliver.
For the first time since John Varley retired, customers, investors, media and the community at large have a Barclays boss they can identify with. Like Barack Obama, Mr Jenkins is somebody you'd at least feel comfortable sitting next to at a dinner party (if not a ball game). He needs to use this goodwill well because the new job ain't easy.
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