Bob Diamond quits Barclays but Marcus Agius will stay
He clearly had to go, says Ed Miliband, and his departure is only one of several changes needed
BARCLAYS chief executive Bob Diamond resigned this morning with immediate effect over the rate-fixing scandal at the bank, it was revealed at 7.30am. The bank's chairman, Marcus Agius, who had yesterday announced his own departure from the bank, will instead stay on and become full-time chairman, tasked with leading the search for a new chief executive.
In a statement released by Barclays, Diamond said: "I joined Barclays 16 years ago because I saw an opportunity to build a world class investment banking business. Since then, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most talented, client-focused and diligent people that I have ever come across.
"We built world class businesses together and added our own distinctive chapter to the long and proud history of Barclays. My motivation has always been to do what I believed to be in the best interests of Barclays. No decision over that period was as hard as the one that I make now to stand down as chief executive.
"The external pressure placed on Barclays has reached a level that risks damaging the franchise - I cannot let that happen."
Diamond made it clear that he will still appear before the Commons Treasure select committee tomorrow to answer questions about the attempts by Barclays traders to manipulate the Libor interbank rate.
Agius commented: "Bob Diamond has made an enormous contribution to Barclays over the last 16 years of distinguished service to the group, building Barclays Investment Bank into one of the leading global investment banks in the world. As chief executive he has led the bank superbly."
A source close to Labour leader Ed Miliband, who had called for Diamond to go, told the BBC that it was "inevitable" that Diamond had to go. He was "clearly not the man to lead Barclays through the change required". However, Miliband, who is pressing for a judge-led investigation of banking, said his departure was only one of many changes needed to reform the banking sector in the UK.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said it was "the right decision". He told the BBC: "There are many questions to be answered about the rate fixing and Barclays will have to answer many of those questions. Responsibility has been taken in the right way. Hopefully this will help Barclays to establish the right culture in the future."
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, who last week described Diamond's position as "completely untenable", used Twitter to acknowledge that "Bob Diamond deserves credit for doing the decent and honourable thing".
Also tweeting was lobbyist Dylan Sharpe who asked: "Did Diamond resign at 7.30am to avoid the morning newspapers?" while tabloid journalist Fleetstreetfox noted: "PR rule no6: If every single newspaper and a bunch of MPs call for your resignation, trying to hold on is a waste of time."
BBC radio show host Richard Bacon asked: "Has anyone ever resigned for less time than Marcus Agius?"