Imagine commuting four hours in and out of Canary Wharf every day, whilst performing a very demanding global job. It seems that this is what Hector Sants may have been up to.
Sants lives in the Oxforshire countryside and according to Barclays insiders and acquaintances, he commuted in and out of Canary Wharf almost every day – a round trip of up to four hours. When he was at the FSA, Sants reportedly worked from home on Fridays. Such lenience seems unlikely at Barclays, where he would also have been required to travel internationally as part of his global remit.
Research released in the summer revealed that marriages where one member of a couple had a long commute were more than twice as likely to end in divorce.
Sants, who is suffering from exhaustion, is now on paid sick leave until January 2014. He reportedly receive his full salary while he’s away – suggesting he could earn £500k of his £3m package during his recuperation. Barclays bankers are somewhat lacking in sympathy.
“People are horrified,” says one salesman. “He’s been very closeted and largely invisible here and we’ve spent the last month trying to get him out to meeting clients, which have now been cancelled. Telling a load of brokers that you’re too tired to come to work is a non-starter.”
The fact that Sants was allegedly meeting clients suggests that his role may have been somewhat broader than his title of ‘head of compliance, government affairs and regulation’ suggested. A Barclays spokeswoman tells us that meeting clients wasn’t a primary focus of Sants’ role, but Sants’ gigantic pay coupled with the expectation that he’d transform Barclays’ culture may have encouraged him to burst through the usual constraints of compliance roles.
“He was instilling a new culture and a whole new set of values,” says Investec analyst Ian Gordon. “I wish him well, but his appointment smacked of political expediency and his £3m pay didn’t seem very appropriate for the new set of values he was supposed to be propagating.”