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Barclays has appointed City headhunters to find three new non-executive directors, as Sir David Walker looks to refresh the bank’s board following last summer’s Libor-fixing scandal.The Sunday Telegraph understands Sir David, who became chairman in November following the departure of predecessor Marcus Agius and chief executive Bob Diamond, is looking for at least one female director as part of the process.
It is understood he is working with Anna Mann, who runs MWM Consulting, to find the trio to add ballast to the board.
A top-10 shareholder in the bank, who asked not to be named, welcomed the news: “I think the board does need refreshing. The incumbents facilitated Diamond’s mismanagement, and so it’s definitely time for a change.”
Sir David is believed to want to add directors to help his and chief executive Antony Jenkins’ focus of shaping a new bank, from the one that received £290m of fines in relation to the Libor row.
In addition, given the fact the current 12-person board has only one woman – economist Dambisa Moyo – he is thought to want to ensure at least one of the new recruits is female. Having initially contacted a number of possible candidates under his own steam, Sir David is understood to have hired Ms Mann, one of the City’s best known headhunters, due to the difficulty in finding people willing to join the board of a major bank, given the commitment needed and the constant pressure from politicians.
Many financial services companies are finding it increasingly difficult to attract the right calibre of non-executives, because of the increased scrutiny holders of such positions are now put under. In addition, tightened vetting by the Financial Services Authority means there is a much smaller number of potential candidates for such roles.
Sources indicated the Barclays recruitment drive was about far more than replacing those whose terms have come to an end.
It is thought that during last summer’s turmoil – which at one point saw Mr Agius resign only to be reinstated 24 hours later when it became clear Mr Diamond was to depart – a number of current non-executives expressed a desire to leave due to the time and commitment the role requires.
As it was, in addition to Mr Agius, Alison Carnwath, who chaired the remuneration committee, was the only non-executive to depart, resigning with immediate effect. She was later replaced on the board by Tim Breedon, former chief executive of Legal & General.
At the time it was known that a number of Ms Carnwath’s peers were frustrated that her departure meant it would take even longer for them to extricate themselves from the positions.
However, one source cautioned that Sir David must take care not to fill the board with too many new faces all at once.
Barclays declined to comment.