Barclays CEO Candidate Staley Said to Face U.K. Regulators

  • CEO frontrunner being interviewed by FCA and PRA on Tuesday
  • Staley needs approval from regulators to get the top job

Barclays Plc’s leading candidate for chief executive officer, Jes Staley, is being interviewed Tuesday by U.K. regulators in the final hurdle to his appointment, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

The former head of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment bank is being questioned by a panel of representatives from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to talk publicly on the process. Staley must be approved by the London-based regulators to get the job.

Staley, 58, emerged as the frontrunner to take over the bank after Antony Jenkins was fired by Chairman John McFarlane, 68, in July, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said last week. An American investment banker with more than three decades’ experience at JPMorgan, he spent the last two years as a managing partner at hedge-fund Bluemountain Capital Management. He was considered for same role in 2012 but beaten by Barclays veteran Jenkins, a retail banker, in the wake of the Libor scandal, people familiar with the matter have said.

Officials for Barclays, the PRA and the FCA declined to comment. Staley didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

British regulators interview all candidates for senior management positions known as Significant Influence Functions, or SIFs, according to the FCA’s website. If passed, Staley would gain the SIF approval status, according to the people.

The stock fell 0.8 percent to 252.6 pence in London, paring its advance this year to 3.7 percent. McFarlane has said that he’s seeking to double the share price over the next three to four years.

Staley, a Boston native, is a career investment banker and has been compared to Barclays’s last American CEO, Robert Diamond, who stepped down following a fine for rigging Libor in 2012. Staley started his career in Latin America before moving to New York and rising to JPMorgan’s head of the investment bank in 2009.

Jenkins was fired after clashing with investment-bank chief Tom King over strategy, people familiar with the matter have said. After his ouster, McFarlane said the bank had been moving too slowly to tackle a “cumbersome and bureaucratic” ethos and that he was looking for a leader with investment-banking experience.

“As soon as the CEO arrives it’s his job” and “in 95 percent of circumstances” the CEO will call the shots, McFarlane said on July 8, the day he fired Jenkins. Only the bank’s overall strategy will require the chairman’s sign off, he said.

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