Barclays set to launch CEO search - FT

FILE PHOTO: The Barclays logo is seen at their offices at Canary Wharf financial district in London,Britain, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

(Reuters) - Barclays BARC.L is gearing up to start the search for a new top boss to replace Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing two people briefed on the bank's plan.

The possible shake-up comes as Britain’s financial regulators are probing links between Staley and the U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, after the FT reported on a trove of emails between the two earlier this month.

Staley, who took over as CEO in 2015, has told colleagues he expects to leave Barclays by the end of 2021 and could step down at the annual meeting in May next year, the report said.

Barclays is set to appoint an external headhunting firm — possibly Spencer Stuart or Egon Zehnder — to identify potential external successors and the process could take up to a year, the FT reported.

The change in top brass at Barclays would follow the change of guard at Europe's top banks including Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L, UBS UBSG.S and Credit Suisse CSGN.S.

HSBC HSBA.L said last August that it would appoint a new CEO within six to twelve months following the shock ouster of John Flint, with his interim replacement Noel Quinn the internal candidate and favourite for the role.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel