Deanna Oppenheimer, head of Barclays’ retail banking business in the UK and Europe, has left the bank after six years.

Her departure comes a year after she took charge of Barclays’ troubled western European operations, where it has suffered some of the most severe losses of the financial crisis.

Ms Oppenheimer launched a drastic restructuring of Barclays’ Spanish business to turnround the lossmaking division. Earlier this year the bank unveiled plans to cut a fifth of the division’s staff and close 120 out of it 580 branches.

Responsibility for the European retail business will now fall back to Antony Jenkins, global head of retail and business banking.

Meanwhile Ashok Vaswani, head of Barclays in Africa, will return to the UK to take over as head of its retail bank.

Ms Oppenheimer does not have another role lined up but is expected to pursue new opportunities outside the financial services sector either in the UK or the US, where her family is from.

Rumours that Ms Oppenheimer was considering leaving Barclays and returning to the US had been circulating for many months – even before her promotion to manage the European business.

She decided over the summer that it was time to move on having accomplished her goal of transforming Barclays’ UK retail bank.

Antony Jenkins said: “Deanna has made a huge contribution in her six years with Barclays, leading the transformation of our UK retail bank and the turn around of our European business. Deanna will be greatly missed by Barclays.”

While the UK retail bank is in a strong position – pre-tax profit rose 74 per cent at the business to £704m in the first half – Mr Jenkins has his work cut out to revive the Spanish operations.

Losses at the European retail bank increased from £19m to £161m in the first six months of this year.

Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, is aiming for the bank to deliver a 13 per cent return on equity by 2013, although the European retail division is not expected to hit this target until 2015.

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