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Barclays Asia-Pacific Chief Morrice Retires After 17 Years

Barclays Plc CEO For Asia-Pacific Robert Morrice
Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer For Asia-Pacific Robert Morrice. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Robert Morrice, Barclays Plc’s Asia-Pacific chairman and chief executive officer, is retiring after 17 years with the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets.

Andrew Jones, the firm’s 45-year-old chief operating officer for the region, and Eiji Nakai, the 50-year-old CEO of the bank’s Japanese unit, have been appointed as Asia-Pacific co-CEOs, Barclays said in an e-mailed statement today. Jones, who joined the London-based bank in 2000, was previously head of the fixed-income syndicate group and co-head of global financing and risk solutions.

Morrice is the latest senior manager to leave Barclays as Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins reshapes its investment bank amid pressure to cut costs, boost profits and focus on consumer and corporate banking. Hugh “Skip” McGee stepped down as CEO of the Americas division at the end of April, Hans-Joerg Rudloff retired as investment-banking chairman in February, and Larry Wieseneck, co-head of securities, is leaving at the end of June.

“Churn in top management as well as throughout the rank and file does not help your cause, particularly in Asia,” Sandy Mehta, chief executive officer of Value Investment Principals Ltd. in Hong Kong, wrote in an e-mail. “Familiarity and personal touch is often more important than institutional relationships” in the region.

Morrice, 51, has led the bank in the region for the past 12 years, and started building the investment banking and cash equities business in 2010 as part of a global expansion following the acquisition of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s U.S. operations.

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Almost six years after Barclays bought parts of Lehman and following scandals from interest-rate rigging to selling insurance customers didn’t need, the bank is cutting jobs, rebuilding relationships with regulators and facing shareholder pressure to curb bonuses.

In Asia, eight managing directors began an exit from the firm’s markets unit earlier this year following a plunge in the bank’s trading income, two people with knowledge of the matter said in January. Barclays also cut commodities jobs in London and New York as part of headcount reductions in fixed income, currencies and commodities.

Early last year, the bank started cutting at least 15 percent of its investment-banking positions in Asia, or about 70 jobs, two people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

The appointments of Jones and Nakai are subject to regulatory approval, the bank said. They will report to Eric Bommensath and Tom King, co-CEOs of corporate and investment banking.

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