Like Bob Diamond, I have recently left Barclays Capital. Unlike Bob Diamond, my departure was entirely voluntary. I’d also like to suggest that, unlike, Bob, I had a pretty good idea how popular – or not – he was at BarCap.
The answer was: not very. I suspect there were not really that many tears shed when he finally resigned.
Although BarCap’s recent results were undeniably good, Bob leaves behind him a number of not-so-solvent employees, fearing for their futures.
He always had a rump of sycophants within the investment bank’s front office and executive team who were richly rewarded for their loyalty through thick and thin. However, away from this sycophantic clique there was increasing dissatisfaction with the shrinking bonus pools and the periodic cull of support staff due to front office greed and incompetence.
The situation was made worse by the constant sanctimonious preaching to all employees about Citizenship. This particularly rankled when we all knew that the thousands of hours of community work carried out by Barclays staff were overshadowed by both the revelations of excessive management remuneration and Bob’s calamitous and futile attempts to defend the situation.
As we now know, Bob’s downfall was his beloved BarCap. He was determined to continue running a pre-credit crunch North American Investment Banking model with all the associated trappings of success rather than sorting out the fundamental problems at Barclays.
At the same time he tried to dupe the bank’s increasingly restless stakeholders with the second rate PR of the Citizenship agenda and fantastical promises of a 13% return on Equity.
Nevertheless he still had one remaining pillar of support his political and banking friends in high places. Yet when the Libor scandal broke this pillar crumbled as his fickle friends, sensing the public mood turned on him leaving his position untenable.
In the end, I suspect he’ll be remembered as the arrogant, avaricious and seemingly untouchable stereotypical banker, a dinosaur unwilling and unable to change.
The writer is a middle office investment banker professional in London.