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Barclays CEO apology over scandal is more drama for the bank

The recent Barclays CEO apology over scandal dealing with whistle-blowing is another embarrassing corporate faux-pas for the British bank.

This Wednesday Barclays CEO James E. Staley was repentant in front of bristling shareholders.

His offence?

In July of 2016, Staley attempted to reveal the identity of the whistle-blower behind two anonymous letters from the U.S.

The author of the documents attacked a Tim Main, fellow banker and friend of Staley’s.

Both Staley and Main knew each other from having previously worked together in New York’s JPMorgan. Thus, the CEO hired Main to help him revitalise Barclays’ business strategies in the UK.

Barclays CEO apology over scandal - Compelo
YouTube/World Economic Forum 2017

Barclays CEO apology over scandal: malicious mail

Another source with insight into the letters refers to them as, “very simple, very crude [and] very malicious.”

Thus, Staley argues that his investigation into the whistle-blower stemmed from a desire to protect Main. He further claims that he was not aware of breaching any conduct rules.

However, shareholders balk at the idea that Staley could have unwittingly broken regulations that protect informant anonymity.

Barclays CEO apology over scandal - Compelo

The issue seems to stem from a change in policy. In last July, the rules only covered protecting the identity of internal informants. However, three months later they were expanded to also mask non-employees.

At the time of receiving the letters therefore, Staley believed it was within his rights to reveal the anonymous author.

However, it could be possible that shareholders and regulatory bodies are making an example out of their tarnished CEO.

In recent years, authorities have accused Barclays of various cases of regulatory infringement.

Barclays CEO apology over scandal - Compelo
YouTube/Procurious HQ

Yet, throughout the course of the current investigation, chairman of Barclays John McFarlane, aka, “Mack the Knife” supports Staley.

“He thought he had a green-light, he went through the light and actually it was red,” he mentions.

As of yet, it’s not entirely clear as to whether Staley will have to step down as CEO.

He apologised for his actions on Wednesday in front of shareholders primed for revolt.

“I feel it is important that I acknowledge to you — our shareholders — that I made a mistake in becoming involved in an issue which I should have left to the business to deal with.”

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