December 7: Roger Davis, Barclays’ chief executive of UK banking, is leaving unexpectedly. He is being replaced by Gary Hoffman, who has been running Barclaycard to great effect, and two others. We have spoken to Davis, 49, who says he wants to be chief executive of his company - a reference, perhaps, to the fact that he was beaten to the top job at Barclays by John Varley. However, he doesn’t yet have such a company in mind.
There are about 40 lines in the press release about how amicable Davis’s departure is, what fun it has been and how much they will all miss each other. Certainly, Davis is staying on into next year to ease the transition. But, as with Gibbon, the footnotes are the best bits. And there, as a “note to editors”, is a paragraph which makes clear Davis is entitled to a £1m pay-off. Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but it is worth noting that Barclays has just appointed a pugnacious new chief operating officer in Paul Idzik. We are still doing our reporting on this so I’m not in a position to tell you definitively what has gone on, but it looks like Varley has become impatient with the pace of change in the UK retail bank, an area he has highlighted as one of his priorities. Davis may also have felt undermined by the appointment in September of Deanna Oppenheimer, a highly-regarded executive from Washington Mutual brought in as COO of the UK retail bank.
Standard Chartered is buying 20 per cent of Fleming Family & Partners for £45m. This values the whole business at £225m - the first time such a calculation has been possible since the business was established after Flemings was taken over by Chase Manhattan. The two plan to co-operate in wealth management in Asia and the Middle East - something that the old Flemings business had good form on. Interesting to see Tricorn, a boutique set up a couple of years ago by ex-Merrill stars, pop up as adviser to StanChart. Hawkpoint advised Fleming. StanChart also issued a trading statement.
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