Barclays board backs CEO despite Epstein links

LONDON (AFP) – Barclays bank yesterday gave its full backing for Jes Staley to continue as chief executive amid a United Kingdom (UK) regulatory probe into his historical links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Based on information already gathered, “the board believes that Mr Staley has been sufficiently transparent with the company as regards the nature and extent of his relationship with Mr Epstein.

“Accordingly, Mr Staley retains the full confidence of the board,” a statement said.

The board has “unanimously recommended” United States (US) national Staley for re-election at the bank’s annual general meeting on May 7.

The bank’s disclosure of the probe being carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority came alongside news that Barclays’ net profit surged 54 per cent last year.

“In deciding whether to recommend Jes Staley for re-election, the board has carried out its usual formal and rigorous performance assessment, which it does in respect of the effectiveness of each of the directors,” Barclays added yesterday.

It said that following reports that Staley had “developed a professional relationship” with Epstein, the Barclays CEO last summer volunteered information to the chairman and fellow executives at the bank.

“Mr Staley also confirmed to the board that he has had no contact whatsoever with Mr Epstein at any time since taking up his role as Barclays Group CEO in December 2015,” the statement added.

Barclays added yesterday that its profit after tax jumped to GBP2.64 billion (USD3.4 billion) in 2019 compared with net profit of GBP1.6 billion a year earlier.

Barclays bank’s CEO Jes Staley. PHOTO: AFP