It's less than two years since Tom King won his power struggle against Skip McGee at Barclays. Now King is leaving - and he's not the only one.
Since the beginning of February, 21 people have left Barclays’ investment bank in London, most of them with more than 10 years’ industry experience, according to filings on the Financial Conduct Authority Register.
Guillermo Felices, head of asset allocation research for Europe and Ian Scott, head of global and European equity strategy have left. Frances Horn, a director in global cash Asian equities for UK clients, Gavin Kearney, a London-based director in pan-Asian equity salesman, and Hideo Yoshioka, another director in pan-Asian equity sales, have left too.
Fabio Martirani, a director in global emerging equities research sales for UK and European accounts and Bimal Shah, an emerging markets equity trader, have also departed.
In research, Cristina Marzea, head of CEEMEA and LatAm banks research and Hanzade Kilickiran, head of Turkey equity research have gone.
And in fixed income, Andrea Marangoni, managing director and head of special situations and distressed debt has gone, along with high yield and investment grade trader Nikolai Hartley and credit analyst Darren Hook.
The exits in London come ahead of Barclays' fourth quarter results presentation on March 1st, when new CEO Jes Staley is expected to outline his strategy for the bank. They follow reports that Staley is cutting an additional 1,000 jobs from the investment bank, including the closure of its cash equity research, sales and trading businesses and convertible bond-trading operations in Asia.
Barclays is understood to have begun announcing bonuses in its investment bank last week (although payment this year has been delayed until March), suggesting that anyone leaving the bank in the few weeks forewent his/her performance pay for 2015.
Should Barclays' bankers fear 55 year-old King's 'retirement' as CEO of the investment bank? Maybe.
King is an established champion of the investment bank. He stood up to Barclays' ex-CEO Antony Jenkins when Jenkins wanted to make even deeper cuts to Barclays' investment banking business. During his two years as investment banking CEO, King has been instrumental in building up Barclays' advisory and capital markets businesses and has maintained the equities business outside Asia despite its persistent under-performance compared to the rest of the market.
Now King's going. Has he opted for retirement in the face of a whole new plan to decimate the investment bank? Does he know something about Jes Staley's new strategy that we don't? After all, J.P. Morgan's analysts are pushing for a further 30% reduction in risk weighted assets in the unit on the grounds that it only generates returns of 6% compared to 14% in Barclays' other businesses.
We'll only know for sure on March 1st. Until then, Barclays' investment bankers can only hope that King's departure doesn't herald Jenkins'-style cuts, and is instead a reflection of Staley's preference for putting his own people in positions of power.
King isn't the only senior Barclays incumbent jettisoned under Jes. Staley also got rid of Jonathan Moulds, the former Barclays COO and BofA executive who only joined in January 2015. Moulds reportedly went because Staley wanted to 'install his own choice in the role' - namely Paul Compton, a former colleague from his time at J.P. Morgan.
If nothing else, therefore, King's exit suggests that Barclays remains highly political, and that it helps to be on Staley's side if you want to survive.