Barclays Hires Ex-Bank of America Executive Moulds as COO

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Barclays Plc hired former Bank of America Corp. executive Jonathan Moulds to help build a firewall around its investment bank and speed up cost cuts in the newly created role of group chief operating officer.

Moulds, a 49-year-old British citizen, starts on Feb. 2 and will report to Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins, Barclays said in a statement from London today after Bloomberg News reported the hire. The COO will oversee the lender’s restructuring, which includes separating investment and consumer operations under tougher U.K. bank rules, while accelerating a cost-reduction plan.

Jenkins, 53, has eliminated thousands of jobs and set up a bad bank for unwanted assets to make the lender more profitable since the Libor-rigging scandal in 2012 cost his predecessor, Robert Diamond, his job. While the CEO pledged to overhaul the bank’s culture, his efforts have been hampered by a series of scandals such as probes into currency market manipulation.

Hiring Moulds “is specifically intended to ensure we continue to deliver on our strategy, but more importantly to accelerate execution,” Jenkins said in the statement. “There are multiple major change programs in flight across the group, designed to achieve our ambitious goals, and which will in turn help to drive the sustainable returns our shareholders deserve.”

Jenkins’s Deputy

Moulds will have authority over key operational issues and “deputize” for Jenkins on “appropriate matters,” according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News. Managing directors Peter Freilinger, head of the structural reform program, and Francesco Ceccato, who leads strategy and corporate development, will report to him, the memo said. Barclays confirmed the contents of the memo.

Barclays’s new chairman, John McFarlane, 67, is also starting in April.

Barclays shares fell 1.3 percent to 230 pence at 12:33 p.m. in London, after declining about 10 percent last year.

Moulds, educated at the University of Cambridge, spent more than 15 years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in roles such as CEO of Merrill Lynch International and head of BoAML Europe. He left the company at the end of 2012.

The native of Halifax, northern England, also brings relationships with U.K. regulators, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified speaking about the hire before it was announced.

Transform Program

British banks are under pressure to boost their capital buffers and revamp businesses amid stricter rules designed to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, which forced Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc into taking state aid. Regulators require lenders with more than 25 billion pounds ($38 billion) of deposits to erect firebreaks between their consumer-lending operations and investment banks.

The Transform program, announced in May, will eliminate 7,000 jobs at the investment bank and cut the unit’s share of the firm’s assets to 30 percent by 2016 from about 50 percent. Barclays said the plan will cost 800 million pounds, in addition to 2.7 billion pounds the bank already estimated its restructuring would cost.

At the same time, Jenkins set up a bad bank to dispose of 115 billion pounds of assets, including complex derivatives from the lender’s fixed-income, currencies and commodities unit and the European consumer arm. Risk-weighted assets at Barclays’s non-core business fell 6.5 billion pounds to 81 billion pounds, the bank said Oct. 30.

Violin Collection

“This is a period of profound change for Barclays as the group builds momentum in the implementation of its strategy and deals with external forces including structural reform,” Moulds said in the statement.

Moulds, who studied math and theoretical physics at Cambridge after winning a music scholarship, has one of the world’s largest collections of violins, according to the London Symphony Orchestra, of which he’s a patron. Moulds was awarded an honor for his charity work this year, becoming a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE.