Barclays Names JPMorgan's Venkatakrishnan as Chief Risk Officer

  • CEO Staley adds another executive from U.S. bank to top team
  • Incumbent Le Blanc to become vice chairman of risk, strategy

Barclays Plc named C.S. “Venkat” Venkatakrishnan chief risk officer, adding to the ranks of former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executives on the bank’s senior management team.

Venkatakrishnan, who spent more than 20 years at JPMorgan’s asset management unit and investment bank, starts in May and will report to Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, himself an alumnus of the U.S. bank, according to an e-mailed statement. He replaces Robert Le Blanc, who will become vice chairman of risk and strategy after 12 years as CRO.

Staley, 59, and Chairman John McFarlane, 68, joined the British lender last year with a mandate to revive profit growth and draw a line under a series of misconduct scandals, which cost the bank billions of dollars in fines and settlements and damaged its reputation. Last week, the bank unveiled 1,200 more job cuts at its investment bank as it exited nine countries and shuttered underperforming businesses. The lender will present a broader strategic update with full-year results on March 1.

“Venkatakrishnan has a long and well-established track record of helping to prudently define and manage risk appetite in large complex financial institutions,” Staley said in the statement. “He has extensive experience in the development of regulatory capital models and with stress testing.”

Misconduct Woes

Venkatakrishnan, 50, was most recently head of operational risk and model risk and development at JPMorgan. He will join Barclays’s executive committee and will “define, set, and manage the risk profile” of the bank, according to the statement. Staley spent 34 years at at U.S. firm, including stints running its asset-management and investment-bank divisions. Finance Director Tushar Morzaria also joined from JPMorgan in 2013.

Barclays was fined 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) for rigging currencies last year in what U.S. authorities called a “brazen display of collusion” to game markets. That followed a 290 million-pound fine in 2012 for rigging the Libor benchmark interest rate, and billions of pounds paid to compensate customers improperly sold payment-protection insurance in the U.K.

The bank is also expected to pay at least $100 million to settle an investigation by New York’s banking regulator into whether it abused its position in electronic currency-trading, people familiar with the matter said in November. It remains under investigation in Britain for its 2008 capital raising from Qatari investors, and the U.S. is probing allegations of misconduct over the operation of its dark pool trading venue.

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