The Financial Conduct Authority’s investigation into claims of Jes Staley’s inappropriate treatment of a “whistleblower” continues to drag on without a conclusion in sight. But anonymous insiders told the Sunday Times that there is more than one side to every story, arguing that it’s important to give a fair chance to people with previous issues related to addiction or mental health.
To rewind to what caused the regulatory scrutiny in the first place, Staley allegedly told his security department to discover the identity of an individual who wrote to the board raising concerns about a new employee despite having been warned against this. The Times reported that he even asked the U.S. postal service to identify from where the letter detailing the claims had been sent.
That is a no-no, especially for a CEO. However, the truth is more complicated and some say that there are mitigating circumstances.
First, the “whistleblower” was not a Barclays employee, but rather someone who sent an anonymous letter claiming to be a former colleague of the banker in question, according to The Times.
The core claim was that Staley’s new hire had problems with alcohol. Staley knew all about this – years earlier he had helped said banker to deal with his issues with booze while they were colleagues at J.P. Morgan Chase – so he was dismissive of the letter. The individual went through rehab and later left to join a rival bank, where he worked for several years before Staley asked him to join Barclays in 2016.
The article says: “Before agreeing to join, the banker disclosed everything about his past issues to Barclays. The fact that he and Staley were friends was also declared. Therefore, nobody at Barclays saw anything in the letter worth noting.
“Staley reacted angrily, as he saw the letter as vindictive. Knowing the circumstances, the board had some sympathy – which is why they settled for slapping their chief executive on the wrists and docking his bonus.” While it remains deeply inappropriate for a CEO to pursue a whistleblower, the Sunday Times' detail personalizes Staley's case and helps explain his motivation.
That’s not the bank’s only headache. In addition, Barclays has drawn up contingency plans as it awaits the next move of activist private equity investor Edward Bramson, who’s built a 5% stake in the firm.
Separately, when it comes to recruiting college students, Goldman Sachs is casting a wider net, at least according to its 2017 shareholder letter:
“Our recruiting strategy is centered on expanding and diversifying our applicant pool. Through the use of technology, including video interviewing and hosting online coding challenges, we increased the number of schools from which we interview intern candidates by more than 150 schools for the 2018 class, compared to 2017.”
That doesn’t mean Goldman has started accepting sub-3.0 GPAs from any old university, but it does mean that you have a fighting chance to get a job there even if you didn’t go to an Ivy League school, MIT, NYU-Stern or Oxbridge.
In addition, the letter revealed that Goldman is aiming to add 1k companies to the roster of clients covered by its investment bankers over the next year and a half.
Further, Goldman revealed that it paid its European CEO, Richard Gnodde, $19m last year.
It is also trying to expand the audience of its “Talks at GS” interviews, a series of chats with guests ranging from corporate chieftains like Bob Iger of the Walt Disney Co. to athletes like Magic Johnson and artists like the novelist André Aciman, who wrote “Call Me By Your Name.”
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