Barclays boss tells staff: adopt new values or leave

LONDON Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:14am EST

Barclays PLC Chief Executive Antony Jenkins speaks during the first day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 (CGI) in New York, September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Barclays PLC Chief Executive Antony Jenkins speaks during the first day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 (CGI) in New York, September 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays' (BARC.L) new boss has told staff they should leave if they do not want to sign up to a set of standards aimed at rebuilding the British bank's reputation after a string of scandals.

Antony Jenkins, who took over as chief executive at the end of August after the bank was rocked by an interest rate rigging scandal, said bonuses and performance would be assessed against a new "Purpose and Values" blueprint.

"I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of you ... will enthusiastically support this move. But there might be some who don't feel they can fully buy in to an approach which so squarely links performance to the upholding of our values," Jenkins said in a memo to his 140,000 staff on Thursday.

"My message to those people is simple: Barclays is not the place for you. The rules have changed. You won't feel comfortable at Barclays and, to be frank, we won't feel comfortable with you as colleagues."

Barclays Plc's reputation was hammered after it was fined 290 million pounds ($464 million) in June for rigging Libor interest rates, which unearthed long-standing concerns by Britain's financial regulator about its culture.

It and other UK banks were also tarnished by scandals involving the mis-selling of financial products.

Jenkins, who took over after Bob Diamond stepped down in the wake of the Libor scandal, said he was putting five values at the heart of his plan: respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship.

He will unveil his strategic plans on February 12 - which he said would "excite" staff on what the future holds - but he added that setting new standards was equally important to the bank's long-term success.

"The behavior which made those headlines in 2012 took place in the past. But it helped underline how banking as a whole had lost its way, and had lost touch with the values on which reputation and trust were built," he said in the memo.

"Over a period of almost 20 years, banking became too aggressive, too focused on the short-term, too disconnected from the needs of our customers and clients, and wider society. We were not immune at Barclays from these mistakes."

He said bankers pursued short-term profits at the expense of the values and reputation of the organization, and in the coming weeks more than 1,000 staff would be trained to spread the new values and embed them throughout the bank.

"Performance assessment will be based not just on what we deliver but on how we deliver it. We must never again be in a position of rewarding people for making the bank money in a way which is unethical or inconsistent with our values," he said.

($1 = 0.6252 British pounds)

(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Mark Potter)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (1)
JamVee wrote:
It is all about ETHICS. All of the businesses in the modern world should take a lesson here, and instituted similar standards. This bank is a drop in the proverbial bucket. Underhanded tricks and actual criminal behavior has somehow become the norm in far too many businesses today. Universities should be teaching ETHICS, and companies should be enforcing ETHICAL conduct rules.

Jan 18, 2013 8:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

How to get out of debt

Financial adviser Eric Brotman offers strategies for cutting debt from student loans and elder care -- and how to avoid money woes in the first place.  Video