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Barclays Deputy Chairman Says No One Sees Culture Issue at Bank

Michael Rake, the deputy chairman of Barclays Plc, said no one sees a cultural problem among senior staff at the bank, which has just lost its top three leaders to a scandal over rigging interest rates.

“I just don’t think that anyone believes there is a problem in the culture at the top of Barclays, either in its executive or non-executive ranks,” Rake said in an interview after testifying to a House of Lords committee. “It is a bigger discussion than that.”

Barclays Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond and Chief Operating Officer Jerry Del Missier resigned July 3, the day after chairman Marcus Agius quit, amid the uproar that followed the bank’s admission that it manipulated the London interbank offered rate.

Diamond told a parliamentary committee last week that the behavior of traders trying to fix the rate had been “reprehensible.” Defending a decision by Del Missier, of which he said he wasn’t aware, to alter Barclays’ Libor submissions in 2008, Diamond said the bank had feared it was going to be nationalized, and that executives had believed the Bank of England approved the strategy. Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker today denied he’d given such a message.

Rake had been attending a hearing on gender equity on corporate boards.

“It would be better as a matter of diversity and overall effectiveness of boards if we can get more qualified women onto boards of banks,” he said in the interview. He added that requirements that board members should have banking qualifications made that more difficult. “We need to ensure that within that process we allow some diversity of board membership,” he said.

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