Barclays has revealed that its chief executive Jes Staley has stepped down following an investigation by regulators into his dealings with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The bank said on Monday that Mr Staley – its chief executive since 2015 – had gone after being given sight of the preliminary conclusions of a probe launched last year by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
It was to examine his “historical” links to paedophile Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial, while Mr Staley ran the private banking arm of US giant JP Morgan.
Barclays said in February 2020 that Mr Staley had offered an account of their business relationship and its board had decided he would be “unanimously recommended” for re-election at the bank’s AGM in May 2020 as he had been “sufficiently transparent”.
But it said on Monday that it was made aware on Friday evening of the FCA and PRA’s findings of the investigation into his characterisation to Barclays of his relationship with Epstein and the subsequent description of that relationship in Barclays’ response to the regulator.
“In view of those conclusions, and Mr Staley’s intention to contest them, the board and Mr Staley have agreed that he will step down from his role as group chief executive and as a director of Barclays,” the bank said.
He told staff in an email that he had quit as he did not want his personal response to the findings to be a distraction.
The bank announced that C.S. Venkatakrishnan – its head of global markets – had already assumed the job of chief executive.
It admitted that it was “disappointed” by the outcome as Mr Staley “has run the Barclays group successfully since December 2015 with real commitment and skill”, its statement said.
The FCA and PRA said they could not comment at this stage as their investigations were continuing.