Barclays Finance Director to Step Down

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LONDON -- Barclays (LSE: BARC  ) (NYSE: BCS  ) this morning reported that its group finance director and the group general counsel are both set to retire from the bank. Shares in the bank slumped on the news, finishing the day down 2.8% to 291.5 pence.

Finance chief Chris Lucas and general counsel Mark Harding both expressed their wishes to retire to Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins late last year, having been in the roles for six years and 10 years, respectively. They said their retirements were in the bank's best interests. Jenkins confirmed that the decision to retire was theirs alone.

Both executives alluded to the forthcoming change program, with Lucas commenting:

While it has undoubtedly been the most eventful period during which anyone could have occupied a role such as mine, I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. However I think now is the appropriate time, as we start the implementation of the Transform program, to begin my retirement from my role on the Board and Executive Committee, and to pass the mantle on to a successor.

Harding also highlighted the transition as a motive for his decision, saying:

We are starting a new period of the bank's development under Antony's leadership. I wholeheartedly support the direction of travel and have no doubt that great success lies ahead. While it will be an exciting journey, I believe it also provides an obvious transition point, and one which I have decided to take. I shall be sad to say goodbye to Barclays when the time comes but the bank, and my colleagues, will always have my support and best wishes.

Both executives will remain in their roles until their successors have been appointed and an appropriate handover has been completed. Due to the seniority of the roles, management expects the process to take a considerable time to complete.

CEO Jenkins commented:

Barclays is at an inflection point in our journey toward becoming the 'Go-To' Bank. We will shortly unveil the outcome of our strategic review, to which they have both made a major contribution. The execution of our change program will take place over the next 5-10 years, and both Chris and Mark feel that now is the right time for them, personally and professionally, to pass the baton on in their respective roles to executives who can commit to seeing that program to completion.

Chris and Mark have given tremendous service to Barclays. The Chairman, the Board and all my Executive Committee colleagues and I shall be very sorry to see them go. I know they join me in recognising the quality of their contributions, the sacrifices they have both made in what have often been challenging times, and their unfailing collegiality.

Bank shares have seen something of a resurgence in recent weeks and months following the impact of the LIBOR scandal in 2012. However, today's resignation news follows allegations that some Barclays senior executives had more knowledge of the wrongdoings than has previously been acknowledged, and I wouldn't be surprised if investors were wary of the banking sector once more until everything is out in the open.

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