Last updated: October 26, 2012 3:49 pm

Busy times ahead for Barclays chairman

Sir David Walker’s diary will look rather different from that of his predecessor when the City veteran formally takes on his role as chairman of Barclays next week.

It is anticipated that Sir David will work at least four days a week, according to a person close to the bank – about double the amount of time Marcus Agius spent at the lender when he began in the same role at the beginning of 2007. This had crept up to at least three days a week by the start of this year, with Mr Agius focused on the job full-time at the height of the crisis and around the time of Bob Diamond’s resignation as chief executive in the summer.

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The demanding schedule reassures analysts, who are expecting to see a very different type of chairman emerge after Barclays’ torrid year.

“He’s been brought in to shake the business up,” one analyst commented. “He’s not been brought in to be a hands-off chairman.”

In part, this prevailing view is down to the complex task of rebuilding Barclays’ battered reputation.

But it is also because of Sir David’s reputation for forthrightness, with analysts anticipating a marked contrast with the more reserved style of his predecessor.

“Certainly, Agius was stand-off and Bob Diamond was very forthright,” one noted.

Others speculated that his experience of working for US investment bank Morgan Stanley could mean that Sir David will employ a more direct style.

But they added it would be a mistake to think of Antony Jenkins, Barclays’ chief executive since August, as the more retiring figure. “Don’t think of him as a shrinking violet,” one said. “I still think Antony Jenkins will be the figurehead.”

The article is subject to a correction and has been amended.

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