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Barclays Promotes Retail Chief Antony Jenkins to CEO

Barclays has promoted Antony Jenkins, who currently heads its retail and business banking business, to the post of chief executive officer (CEO). He succeeds Bob Diamond, who stepped down as CEO in July following the imposition of fines on the bank for manipulating the LIBOR benchmark interest rates.

The appointment was announced as it was revealed that Barclays faces a criminal investigation into fees that it paid to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) in 2008, when the bank sought to raise funds to avoid a government bailout.

Jenkins joined Barclays in 2006, when he was hired as CEO of Barclaycard to revive the fortunes of the bank’s credit card business. He originally joined the bank in 1983, before moving to Citigroup in 1989 where he worked for a period of 16 years. After his work for Barclaycard, Jenkins was appointed head of retail and business banking in 2009.

His latest promotion has confounded some expectations that the bank would look outside to fill the role of CEO to signal a break with former management. Barclays indicated that Jenkins' "intimate knowledge" of the bank's portfolio and his retail experience had influenced their choice. Earlier this month, the group announced that respected financier Sir David Walker would be its next non-executive chairman when Marcus Agius steps down in November. The UK government-sponsored Walker Review previously looked at the issue of excessive pay and bonuses at banks, introducing the concept of 'claw-backs' for poor performance, and Walker is considered to be a much-needed 'safe pair of hands'.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has informed the bank that it has “commenced an investigation into payments under certain commercial agreements between Barclays and Qatar Holding.”

In June 2008, Barclays raised £4.5bn through an issue of new shares and the following November it raised more than £7bn. Much of the focus of the investigation appears to be on information provided in the June 2008 fundraising that describes "an agreement for provision of advisory services" by Qatar to Barclays in the Middle East.