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Monday, September 3, 2012

Was it a risky move by Barclays to appoint Antony Jenkins as its new chief executive?

Was it a risky move by Barclays to appoint Antony Jenkins as its new chief executive?

YES Erin Davis All in all, we're pleased with the appointment of Antony Jenkins but note that it is not without risk. Together, Walker and Jenkins project a credible and much-needed change in Barclays' corporate culture. In our opinion, former chief executive Bob Diamond's often brash demeanour exacerbated negative public and political sentiment towards the bank. Jenkins, with his roots in retail banking, is likely to scale back on investment banking and refocus the group on its retail and corporate banking businesses.

It is likely that Jenkins will lean heavily on lieutenants and on Walker's experience in investment banking as he gets to know the business. We'll watch for signs that he is having trouble managing the complex investment banking business, or for departures of key people, which could indicate a lack of confidence in Jenkins's leadership.

Erin Davis is a banking analyst at Morningstar.

NO Ralph Silva Barclays is going through the most challenging period in its history due to challenges in the investment banking operations. Having a leader that has a retail background provides a strategic realignment that will help Barclays. The bank needs its brand repaired and, in a universal banking model, brand perceptions are established on a retail level. Having a retail expert in charge provides Barclays with the quickest path to recovery. I don't believe an external chief executive would have been a good idea.

Barclays is a very old bank and has a unique, complex culture. An external candidate would take too long to acclimatise and time is paramount as the bank remains under intense pressure. Jenkins's priority must be to bring the litigation issues to an end and find a balance between retail and investment banking, which will be the starting point in rebuilding the bank.

Ralph Silva is a banking analyst at Silva Research Network.

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