Barclays Continues Hunt For New Chairman

Published in Company Comment on 23 July 2012

Sir Michael Rake rejects the £750,000 role.

Barclays (LSE: BARC) fell 4p, or 2%, to 155p this morning after Sir Michael Rake confirmed he did not wish to be considered for the role of chairman at the bank.

Sir Michael, a non-executive at Barclays since 2008, had been seen as a front-runner to replace Marcus Agius, who tendered his resignation in the wake of the Libor scandal earlier this month. Agius is currently the bank's interim executive chairman following the departure of chief executive Bob Diamond.

Weekend press reports suggested major Barclays shareholders have demanded an external candidate be appointed for the £750,000-a-year position.

Sir Michael's confirmation was issued by easyJet (LSE: EZJ), the low-cost airline that Sir Michael has chaired since 2010. 

On Friday, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, 37% owner of easyJet, published a letter urging fellow shareholders to oust Sir Michael from the airline's board. Sir Stelios reckoned Sir Michael had "too many jobs...requiring extensive oversight" and could not "devote enough time" to easyJet.

Sir Stelios claimed Sir Michael collected a £300,000 annual fee for working at the airline for just one day a week. Sir Michael's other jobs include the chairmanship of BT (LSE: BT-A), a position he has held since 2007 and which pays £650,000 a year.

While easyJet said today that it repeated its support for Sir Michael, any business that has a suspected 'fat cat' at its helm might not be the most dependable investment this choppy market has to offer right now.

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Barclays issues its half-year results on Friday.

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> Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article.

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