July 03, 2012

Barclays Plc has few obvious candidates who would be able to restore the British bank's tarnished image after the departure of Chief Executive Bob Diamond.

With Chairman Marcus Agius also set to leave following Barclays' record-breaking fine for attempting to manipulate interbank lending rates, the bank has to fill its top two roles.

Potential replacements with Diamond's tough business acumen - and the ability to repair Barclays' image - are few and far between, analysts, bankers and investors said, signalling uncertainty ahead for all concerned.

Agius himself conceded the point, telling reporters there were "not that many" people with the right qualities.

Some saw a possible candidate in Bill Winters, former co-CEO of JPMorgan in Europe, if he wants the job. Winters has been linked with top jobs at UBS AG and elsewhere since his sudden exit from JPMorgan in 2010, but has not been tempted.

"It's going to be difficult (finding a new CEO), it's not going to be a very long list. The obvious name is Bill Winters - he's very well regarded," said Chris Wheeler, analyst at Mediobanca, adding Barclays would probably go for someone from outside its own ranks.

"Barclays has strong capital and liquidity and it's quite an exciting job. But will they be allowed to do it, and get paid to do it?" Wheeler asked, referring to possible political and regulatory pressures and the backlash on bankers' pay.

Winters enhanced his standing by being one of the five members on an independent commission that recommended far-reaching changes to UK banking, which are being implemented.

Dual U.S.-UK citizen Winters may be well accepted by regulators, politicians and shareholders, who have set their sights on a rare breed of banker who can deliver Barclays' commercial objectives without giving an impression of wanting to win business at all costs.

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