The chairman of Barclays, Marcus Agius stepped down today in the wake of the UK bank’s record-breaking fine for attempting to manipulate the LIBOR interbank lending rate.
Agius admitted to unacceptable standards of behavior and apologized to staff, customers and shareholders, amid the fallout from the £290 million ($453 million) settlement of an interest rate manipulation probe.
Barclays said a search for a successor both from within the existing board members and from outside will be led by Sir John Sunderland, starting today. Agius will remain in post until an orderly succession is assured and Sir Michael Rake has been appointed deputy chairman.
"This has been a period of unprecedented stress and turmoil for the banking industry in particular and for the wider world economy in general. Barclays has been well served by an excellent executive team - led, first by John Varley, and now by Bob Diamond – which has worked constructively with a strong and supportive board of directors. Barclays has remained resilient throughout the crisis, and has worked hard to ensure that today it is a strong, well capitalized and profitable business," Agius said in a statement today.
"But last week’s events – evidencing as they do unacceptable standards of behavior within the bank – have dealt a devastating blow to Barclays' reputation. As chairman, I am the ultimate guardian of the bank’s reputation. Accordingly, the buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside," he said.
Agius will be the most senior head to roll so far in the scandal that made headlines last Tuesday. It recently came to light that four Royal Bank of Scotland traders had been dismissed over their role in LIBOR-fixing, at the end of last year.