Barclays’ boss quits ‘to avoid brand contagion’

Barclays’ beleaguered chief executive Bob Diamond has stepped down after the interest-rate scandal fuelled concerns that damage to the corporate brand could spread and irreparably harm perception of its high street operation.

bob diamond

Diamond has stood down with immediate effect, citing “external pressure” that has reached levels that risks “damaging the franchise”. No details of the “external pressure” was given but Diamond has faced criticism from MPs and investors in recent days after the bank was fined £290m by the City watchdog for manipulating the rates banks use to lend to each other in the wholesale market.

Chancellor George Osborne welcomed Diamond’s decision, adding it was a “first step towards a new culture of responsibility in British banking”.

Outgoing chairman Marcus Agius, who announced his resignation over the scandal yesterday (3 July), will lead the search for a new chief executive.

Diamond says in a statement that: “I am deeply disappointed that the impression created by the events of last week about what Barclays and its people stand for could not be further from the truth. I know that each and every one of the people at Barclays works hard every day to serve our customers and clients.”

The rigging of lending rates by Barclays executives in its investment banking arm appears to have already hit consumer perception of its retail banking arm, according to according to YouGov BrandIndex metrics.

Its Index score – an average of how customers rate the brand in terms of impression, quality, value, reputation and satisfaction – slumped to -24.2 yesterday (2 July), down from -0.8 last Wednesday (27 June). Its Buzz score – a net balance of people that have heard positive and negative things about the brand – fell to – 59.3, down from -5 last week.

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