The CEO of Barclays on Thursday apologised again for trying to unmask the identity of a whistleblower who wrote two anonymous letters about the conduct of a senior executive he hired.
Jes Staley had already apologised last month but decided to say sorry directly to the bank’s shareholders at its Annual General Meeting (AGM). Staley said, according to several media outlets including The Telegraph:
“I feel it is important that I acknowledge to you, our shareholders, that I made a mistake in becoming involved in an issue which I should have left to the business to deal with. I have apologised to the board and would today like to apologise to you as well for that error.”
John McFarlane, chairman of Barclays, told investors at the AGM, according to The Financial Times:
“You know me, if I believed a chief executive should go, he would go. But I do not believe that is what should happen.
“As long as he wasn’t successful in identifying the individual, he just made a mistake and you can’t be as good as your last mistake. I have been doing this for 40 years and I mean if that was the standard I would have gone years ago.”
Both Jes Staley and Barclays are the subjects of investigations by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority over the incident, which is being treated as a whistleblowing incident.
After hearing about the incident earlier this year, Barclays’ board hired law firm Simmons & Simmons to investigate.
Staley said in a statement at the time: “I have apologised to the Barclays Board, and accepted its conclusion that my personal actions in this matter were errors on my part. I will also accept whatever sanction it deems appropriate.”
The board issued a “formal written reprimand” to Staley and will make “a very significant compensation adjustment” to his bonus.