The clock is ticking at Barclays. Ever since Antony Jenkins was dispensed with in July, there's been speculation about who chairman John McFarlane would choose as Jenkins' replacement. Now, senior Barclays insiders say a decision is close to being made: the next CEO of Barclays will (allegedly) be the current finance director, Tushar Morzaria.
Barclays declined to comment on Morzaria's purported promotion. Morzaria was initially the bookies' favourite to win, and in July McFarlane said he would be working "particularly closely" with him. However, McFarlane subsequently hired search firm Spencer Stuart and was said to be looking for an injection of new blood instead of promoting an insider. If McFarlane's changed his mind and gone for the finance director after all, it will make a pretty impressive new notch on Morzaria's 'career arc'.
This is what you need to know about Morzaria is, where he's come from, and what he's likely to implement at Barclays' investment bank if and when he gets the top job.
At 46 years-old, Morzaria would be the baby of banking CEOs. Sergio Ermotti at UBS is 55. Ross McEwan at RBS is 58. Tidjane Thiam at Credit Suisse is 53. Morzaria's youthfulness is thrown into even sharper relief alongside Barclays' chairman: McFarlane is 68.
There's something about Manchester University and senior banking executives in the UK. Michael Sherwood, co-CEO of Goldman Sachs International (the UK arm of Goldman Sachs) graduated in economics from Manchester in 1986. Morzaria graduated in computer science and accounting from Manchester University in 1990.
Morzaria's first job out of university was as an accountant Coopers and Lybrand (now part of PWC). From there, he moved to SG Warburg for a year before taking accounting jobs at J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse.
Morzaria came into banking as a product controller. - At Credit Suisse he worked as European controller of fixed income before becoming global controller of derivatives. If Morzaria is promoted to CEO of Barclays, it will mark a victory for product controllers everywhere.
A Morzaria promotion will be also be a victory for the self-effacing. Back in July, Sky News reported that Morzaria didn't really want to be CEO of Barclays anyway.
As a former fixed income product controller. Morzaria has an excellent understanding of Barclays' big fixed income sales and trading business. This doesn't mean he plans to hack it down. In August, Morzaria complimented Barclays' macro business on its strong performance and said the business had already gone through "substantial restructuring" and was in "steady state mode."
Barclays' recently released figures for the 'role-based payments' it makes to senior executives in order to sidestep the EU bonus cap. As before, these payments are pretty enormous. However, Morzaria's payment was a lot less enormous than some of his counterparts'. For example, Tom King, CEO of the investment bank, received a role-based payment of £642k (up from £600k last year), while Morzaria received 'just' £188k (up from £187k last year).
Much like Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank, Barclays needs to strip out layers of bureaucracy. Morzaria is all for this - in a speech last June he said infrastructure cuts at the bank are a "long term proposition." He also praised the bank's US staff, whom he said were absolutely keen to help implement the new strategy.
If McFarlane has indeed chosen Morzaria as the new CEO of Barclays, it might have something to do with Morzaria's mastery of the accounting rules which impact the reported size of Barclays all-important derivatives book and resulting leverage ratio and capital requirements. In a note released at the weekend, Bernstein banking analyst Chirantan Barua warned that Barclays needs to raise an additional £4.5 to £5bn to fill an unrecognized capital gap. If Barua's right, Morzaria could be the man of the moment. Interestingly, McFarlane is likely to retain close control of investment banking strategy after appointing Ben Davey from Rothschild as chief strategy officer late last week...
Addendum: The Financial Times reports that Barclays' CEO will be Jes Staley. The bank reportedly had a shortlist of two - we assume the other one was Morzaria.