Barclays is reportedly launching the hunt for a successor to chairman Sir David Walker less than 18 months after he was brought in to help repair its reputation following the Libor scandal.
The banking giant has appointed headhunters to draw up a list of candidates for the role, although Sir David is not set to leave until next summer after serving a three-year term, according to The Sunday Times.
Sir David – a former executive director of the Bank of England – joined the Barclays board in September 2012 and officially took over at the helm two months later amid a reputational crisis in the wake of its £290 million Libor rates rigging settlement.
He replaced Marcus Agius, who resigned following the scandal, which also claimed the scalp of former chief executive Bob Diamond.
The City veteran’s successor will face ongoing challenges at the bank as it comes under renewed fire over pay and the impact of a wide-ranging costs and culture overhaul.
Barclays fuelled controversy over banker pay last week when it announced a 10% hike in its staff bonus pool to £2.4 billion despite reporting a 32% drop in underlying annual profits.
The bumper payout will see its 26,200 investment banking employees share out a £1.6 billion bonus pot for 2013, up 13% on 2012, giving an average payout of £60,100 per employee in the division.
But investors were left disappointed by a 37% slump in profits at its investment banking business, while the bonus pool dwarfed the £859 million paid out in dividends to shareholders last year, defying plans to shift rewards back to shareholders.
Chief executive Antony Jenkins defended the payout, saying the group believes in “paying competitively” to retain top talent. UK banks are already fretting over losing staff to overseas competitors after EU rules came into force this year capping bonuses to one year’s salary – or a maximum of two years if shareholders approve.
This has seen Barclays introduce a new monthly allowance system based on role rather than performance to sidestep the new rules and induce key staff to remain.
Barclays declined to comment on the reports.