Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Diamonds are not forever

Bob Diamond, American banker, life member of The Council on Foreign Relations, CEO of Barclays until 7:30 this morning, has resigned.

Bizarrely, Marcus Agius, British banker, husband of Katherine de Rothschild, who resigned as Chairman of Barclays yesterday, now seems to have unresigned and is taking over Bob Diamond's role, pro tem, until a new CEO can be found.

Bob Diamond is scheduled to appear before the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons tomorrow to give evidence on the general subject of LIBOR fixing (2.15pm, not to be missed.)

Quite why Diamond has decided to walk the plank is unclear at the moment. In an email to all staff yesterday he vowed to stay and work to restore the bank's reputation, but overnight it seems he has had a change of heart and quit. (Incidentally wrong-footing some newspapers which today are reporting in their print versions that he intends to cling on to his job.)

Some people are speculating that after he has been grilled by the committee he would not have a job to go back to anyway, and it looks better to perform an honourable jump rather than be pushed. However he may have strictly personal reasons for quitting: he may have options that vest immediately if he leaves the company and he may want to cash up his holdings in Barclays before the coming storm decimates the share price.

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