Ex-Barclays boss Jenkins: Sacking was 'surprising to me'

Former Barclays boss Antony Jenkins was as surprised as anyone when he was pushed from the bank earlier this year.

When Chairman John MacFarlane rang him to say the board wanted him gone, Jenkins was shocked, according to a great interview with the BBC.

“Well, I’m a human being, so I have to say that it was surprising to me, but I completely respect the authority of the board in choosing the CEO,” he said in the interview

Jenkins took over from Bob Diamond in the wake of the Libor manipulation scandal that had cost Barclays its reputation as well as hundreds of millions in fines.

Jenkins was a retail banker rather than an investment banker, and was appointed to win back the trust of regulators and steer Barclays away from risky activities and bad behaviour.

“It is a source of regret to me that I wasn’t able to complete the work,” he told the BBC. “But when I look at what we achieved in three years I’m confident that the organisation [is] in much better shape. I’m proud of what I achieved, but I’m also very proud of what the people of Barclays achieved in working with me over that time period.”

“And I’m realistic. I’ve been in corporate life for over 30 years. These things happen.” he added.

Barclays has switched back to a CEO with investment banking experience, bringing in James “Jes” Staley, a former JP Morgan executive.

Jenkins also voiced his frustration with bankers who thought the industry had a minor PR issue instead of a major behavioural problem.

He said: “I always got frustrated with people in the industry who said: ‘Oh you know it’s just a PR problem. They don’t understand how much tax we pay, how many people we employ, the great things we do for the economy. If we only told our message better then they’d all love us.’

“I don’t believe that for a minute. I think this is a product much more of what you do than what you say and so it’s really in businesses’ own hands to demonstrate to society that they make a positive contribution.”

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