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Barclays names Antony Jenkins chief
Barclays has revealed that the Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into payments made between the bank and Qatar
Barclays has handed the job of restoring its tarnished reputation to an insider as another scandal threatened to engulf the UK bank.
Antony Jenkins, who has been retail and banking boss since 2009, vowed to overhaul the bank after being named as immediate successor to Bob Diamond, who left the lender in the wake of revelations over rate-rigging.
The 51-year-old's appointment came just hours after it emerged that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was investigating payments made between the bank and Middle East investors Qatar Holding at the height of the financial crisis.
Mr Jenkins will earn a package worth a potential £8.6 million a year to lead the bank through one of the toughest periods in its history. He said Barclays had made "serious mistakes in recent years" and will begin a review of the bank's entire operations.
Mr Jenkins added that Barclays had "clearly failed to keep pace with our stakeholders' expectations". "We have an obligation to all of those stakeholders - customers, clients, shareholders, colleagues and broader society - and a unique opportunity to restore Barclays' reputation by making it the 'go to' bank in all of our chosen markets," he said.
His appointment comes at a crucial time for Barclays, with Wednesday night's news of the SFO probe coming as the bank is still reeling from its interbank rate-fixing scandal. The SFO is investigating payments made to Qatar Holding, which it tapped for funds at the height of the financial crisis. Qatar Holding - part of sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority - invested around £4.5 billion on behalf of the Qataris as part of emergency fundraising in 2008.
Barclays raised nearly £11 billion at the time, which effectively allowed the bank to avoid following in the footsteps of Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland by taking a state bailout. The SFO investigation follows news last month of a similar probe by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
Whereas the FSA's investigation was centred on four present and past senior staff, including finance director Chris Lucas, the SFO's probe is currently not thought to be focusing on any individuals.
It is thought that Mr Jenkins's appointment will help the bank to move on from its scandals, but the decision to appoint a retail banker at the helm has raised questions over the future of Barclays' investment banking business. Some experts believe his appointment signals a return to its retail banking roots, although Barclays was keen to stress that its new boss is committed to the "universal" banking model.
Mr Jenkins marks a clean sweep at the top following the Libor-rigging scandal, which claimed the scalp of Mr Diamond and is also leading to the departure of chairman Marcus Agius - to be replaced by Sir David Walker in November. Sir David, who has helped with the search for Mr Diamond's successor, said: "The field of shortlisted candidates that I met was very strong, and it was clear that Antony was the outstanding choice."