Barclays Finance Director Chris Lucas Said Set to Retire
Barclays Plc (BARC) Finance Director Chris Lucas, who is under investigation by the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority, is set to step down, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The retirement of 52-year-old Lucas after almost six years in his position at the U.K.’s second-largest lender by assets may be announced in a statement by the London-based bank as soon as tomorrow, said the people who asked not to be identified as the information is confidential.
Lucas was one of four past and present employees at Barclays who were being investigated by the FSA as part of an inquiry into whether the bank adequately disclosed fees it agreed to pay to the Qatar Investment Authority as it sought to raise money from investors including the sovereign-wealth fund. His departure follows that of the bank’s three top executives who stepped down last year after the bank was fined 290 million pounds ($455 million) for manipulating the Libor benchmark interest rate. It leaves investment banking head Rich Ricci as one of the last surviving members of the old management.
After the departure of Robert Diamond as Chief Executive Officer, Marcus Agius as chairman and Jerry del Missier as chief operating officer, “this is a complete clearing of the stables, and it will be interesting to see who they hire,” said Christopher Wheeler, a London-based banking analyst at Mediobanca SpA who rates Barclays “outperform”. “Will it be someone squeaky clean, or someone punchy who will develop the business?”
Lucas was one of the employees whose bid to prevent their names from being published ahead of a trial into Libor- manipulation was rejected by Judge Julian Flaux in London last month.
The Financial Times also last week reported that regulators are examining allegations that Barclays loaned money to invest in the bank’s own shares during the financial crisis.
The bank is seeking to hire recruitment consultants to replace Lucas, said one of the people.
CEO Antony Jenkins is scheduled to update investors on the bank’s strategy on Feb. 12.
When a successor is found, there could be a risk of the new finance director “kitchen sinking” and writing down assets, said Cormac Leech, a banking analyst at Liberum Capital Ltd. in London who rates Barclays a hold. “But I doubt the market will be very surprised” at Lucas’s departure, he said.
A spokesman for Barclays declined to comment today when contacted today by Bloomberg News.