Barclays’ general counsel Mark Harding is to retire after a decade in the post, the bank announced.
Group finance director Chris Lucas is also stepping down, though both senior executives will remain until successors are found.
Commenting on the departures, group chief executive Antony Jenkins described the bank as being ‘at an inflection point’ in its ‘journey towards becoming the "go-to" bank’. He also stressed the contribution Harding and Lucas had made to the Barclays’ strategic review, the outcome of which will soon be made public.The review, Harding added, ‘provides an obvious transition point, and one which I have decided to take’.
Barclays said the time needed to find replacements will be ‘considerable’. The next general counsel will face a sizeable in-tray of unresolved legal risks for the group. While the bank agreed to pay a £290m fine to settle the UK-US regulatory probe into Libor-fixing, the settlement has no bearings on worldwide civil claims arising from Libor-fixing.
The bank has set aside £450m to settle claims related to mis-selling of derivatives products to businesses. Last week the Financial Services Authority reported that a review of 173 such sales by Barclays and three other banks to SMEs showed regulatory breaches in 90% of such sales.
In other news, it was reported that the FSA and the Serious Fraud Office were investigating whether Barclays provided a loan to Qatar to fund its cash call in 2008, during its successful attempt to avoid a state bailout at the height of the financial crisis.
Harding is likely to be still in post when Barclays announces the results of its biennial review of law firm panels, due in June. Barclays’ annual legal spend, on some 1,000 in-house lawyers and a panel of external law firms, is estimated at £100m.