Barclays finance chief leaves early

Barclays finance director Chris Lucas is stepping down at the end of this week after bringing forward his departure from the bank by six months due to ill health.

His replacement will not start until October 15, meaning the company will be without a finance director for two months as it prepares for a £5.8bn (€6.75bn) rights issue.

Mr Lucas is one of four past and present Barclays employees who have been investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over fees paid under a 2008 fundraising from Qatari investors.

The bank announced two weeks ago that it had received the FCA’s preliminary findings from the probe – and that it had contested them.

Barclays said today that the departing Mr Lucas, 52, was eligible under a medical insurance scheme to £600,000 (€698,000) for each year he is unable to fulfil his role, until the age of 65. He is also entitled to a share of his annual bonus for 2013.

The bank has seen several top executives, including chief executive Bob Diamond, leave since a rate-fixing scandal erupted last year, which saw it hit with a US $453m (€341m) fine.

It has recently been under pressure to meet regulatory demands to shore up its finances by June next year and last month announced it was to tap shareholders for £5.8bn (€4.4bn) after revealing a £12.8bn (€9.6bn) shortfall.

But now Mr Lucas, who had been due to leave on February 28 next year, will not be in place to oversee the move as he has brought forward his leaving date to this Friday.

His successor Tushar Morzaria, who was chief financial officer at JP Morgan Chase’s investment bank and was lured to Barclays with a pay package of up to £6.2m (€4.6m), does not arrive for another two months.

The bank said group financial controller Peter Estin would take over as acting chief financial officer until October 15, saying that he was “deeply familiar with all aspects of the group’s finances, including the capital raising”.

Mr Lucas said: “My health was a key factor behind my decision to step down which we announced in February.

“Whilst I had hoped to be able to continue working until early next year it is now clear to me that with my health as it is, this will no longer be possible.”

Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins said: “Chris has helped navigate the bank through many challenges during his six years with the business, and has played a key part in building the foundations which will ensure Barclays becomes the ’go-to’ bank in the years ahead.”

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