BARCLAYS' chief executive Antony Jenkins is to waive his bonus for 2012 after a "very difficult" year for the scandal-hit bank.
Jenkins, who took on the role last August, said it was “only right that I bear an appropriate degree of accountability“ after a year of devastating reputational blows for the group, including its £290m settlement for Libor rate rigging.
The move follows reports that Barclays was preparing to pay Mr Jenkins a bonus worth at least £1m for 2012.
The maximum bonus he was entitled to was £2.75m – or 250% of his £1.1m salary.
Jenkins said: “I am aware of considerable speculation about, and public interest in, the question of whether I will be awarded a bonus in respect of my performance in 2012.
“To avoid further unnecessary public debate on this matter, I wish to make clear that I concluded early this week that I do not wish to be considered for a bonus award for 2012.”
He added that it would be “wrong for me to receive a bonus for 2012“ after the bank has been knocked by “multiple issues of our own making“.
It is still unclear how much the bank is planning to hand out in bonuses to its wider workforce and investment banking team.
His decision could set the tone for the forthcoming bonus season, with the sector once more in the spotlight over its pay plans.
Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester has already waived his entitlement to a bonus for 2012, which he announced amid the bailed-out bank’s computer meltdown last summer, but there is controversy building over potential payments to bosses at fellow banks.
When asked about Jenkins’s decision, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “We still have a very clear line that any such bonuses should follow a policy of restraint and should reflect good performance. That applies to bonuses across the board.”
Jenkins replaced former boss Bob Diamond, who resigned in the wake of the Libor affair.
He is leading a campaign to repair its battered image and overhaul its culture, which has been blamed for a string of recent scandals. But Jenkins appears to be facing an uphill struggle, with reports yesterday suggesting it is the subject of yet another investigation as authorities look into allegations that it lent Qatar money to invest in the bank in 2008 as part of an emergency cash call to avoid a Government bailout.
The terms of the bank’s fundraising at the height of the financial crisis are already being scrutinised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Serious Fraud Office.
Barclays has repeatedly come under fire for handing out big bonuses to staff and its former remuneration chief, Alison Carnwath, said earlier this week that pay had become excessive.
She told MPs on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards that Diamond was “reluctant“ to accept that pay at the bank was too high and the board ignored recommendations to withhold his bonus for 2011.
Diamond received around £18m in salary, bonus, benefits and vested long-term share awards in 2011, including a near-£2 million annual bonus – about 75% of the maximum payout.