Staley’s departure came after UK regulators shared with Barclays the preliminary findings of their multi-year probe into what he told the bank’s board about his relationship with Epstein following the latter’s 2019 arrest on sex-trafficking charges.
“The board is disappointed at this outcome,” the lender said. The regulators’ findings have not yet been made public. Venkat said his mentor’s shock departure means he is taking over the British lender “with deeply mixed emotions”. Staley “became chief executive of Barclays in one of our darkest hours, and devised and implemented a successful recovery strategy of outstanding vision,” the executive, who is known as Venkat, said in his first memo as CEO on Monday.
Barclays promoted Venkat and global head of banking Paul Compton last year as part of its plans to eventually replace Staley. Chairman Nigel Higgins started looking outside the bank for possible successors in early 2020, but put the process on hold to avoid destabilising the firm during the pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter. Barclays confirmed on Monday that it had reviewed external candidates but didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment further.
Venkat worked with Staley at JPMorgan Chase and was one of his first hires at Barclays, coming aboard initially as chief risk officer in 2016. The executive, who was previously global head of markets, said he will announce changes to the corporate and investment bank as a result of his move in the coming days.
Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in 2019, after being charged with sex trafficking.