Does no one want to run Barclays? Favourites pull out of running

Jul 23, 2012

Hunt goes on as Michael Rake and Rich Ricci rule themselves out of chairman and CEO roles

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BARCLAYS is having a torrid time filling its two top posts as the fall-out from the Libor rate-rigging scandal continues to be felt at the bank's headquarters

Sir Michael Rake, deputy chairman of Barclays and the favourite to replace Marcus Agius as chairman, has ruled himself out of the running for the top job, while Rich Ricci, the head of Barclays' investment arm, has made it known he will not be applying for the CEO job, made vacant by the resignation of Bob Diamond.

Rake had been the favourite to take over from Agius, but The Sunday Times reports that last week he told Sir John Sutherland, the non executive director in charge of recruiting a chairman, that he did not want to be considered.

City sources told the paper Rake's decision "reflected the fierce scrutiny of the choice of Barclays' new leadership", but The Financial Times reports that three major shareholders had effectively vetoed the appointment, telling the bank that the job must go to an outsider.

But even outsiders are ruling themselves out. One potential candidate, former Standard Chartered chairman Lord Davies, has also reportedly told friends he has no interest in the role.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph reported that Ricci, who previously replaced Diamond as head of Barclays Capital, "is believed to have told friends that he neither wants the job, nor thinks it would be sensible for him to be appointed".

Both roles, chairman and CEO, now look likely to go to external candidates - if anyone can be found who doesn't mind interference from the Financial Services Authority and scrutiny from the government.

The FT says it is difficult for any bank to find suitable candidates since so many bankers' reputations have been damaged by the financial crisis.

The paper says Barclays will probably now not fill either the CEO or chairman job until the autumn. Favourites for the latter include: Hector Sants, outgoing FSA chief executive, and Lord (Gus) O'Donnell, the former head of the civil service - but he might be holding out to replace Mervyn King as governor of the Bank of England.

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Sants and O'Donnell - both part of the problem not the solution.

I would like to put myself forward for the job. However, I feel somewhat overqualified, having recently successfully (1) run a whelk-stall and (2) organised a piss-up in a brewery.