Barclays boss seeks to save bank’s reputation after financial scandal with Qatar
Barclays bank chief executive Antony Jenkins announced on Friday that he would give up his 2012 bonus after a "very difficult year" at the lender, which has been plagued by the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
The announcement followed media reports that the crisis-hit lender was preparing to pay Jenkins a bonus worth at least £1.0 million ($1.6 million, 1.2 million euros) for last year.
Jenkins has a potential maximum bonus entitlement of £2.75 million or 250 percent of his £1.1-million annual salary.
"I am aware of considerable speculation about, and public interest in, the question of whether I will be awarded a bonus in respect of my performance in 2012," Jenkins said in a brief company statement.
"To avoid further unnecessary public debate on this matter, I wish to make clear that I concluded early this week that I do not wish to be considered for a bonus award for 2012, and I have communicated that decision to the board.
"The year just past was clearly a very difficult one for Barclays and its stakeholders, with multiple issues of our own making besetting the bank. I think it only right that I bear an appropriate degree of accountability for those matters, and I have concluded that it would be wrong for me to receive a bonus for 2012 given those circumstances."
A group spokesman said that the bank had not decided what Jenkins' 2012 bonus would have been.
Barclays slumped into crisis last June when it was fined £290 million ($470 million, 363 million euros) by British and US regulators for attempted manipulation of Libor and Euribor interbank rates between 2005 and 2009.
The Libor system was found to be open to abuse, with some traders lying about borrowing costs to boost trading positions or make their bank seem more secure.
Last year's Libor scandal sparked the resignations of three Barclays senior board members, including ex-chief executive Bob Diamond. He was replaced by Jenkins, who was formerly head of retail and business banking at the lender.
The group is also wrestling with other industry issues including the mis-selling of credit insurance products -- or payment protection insurance -- and interest rate hedging products.
Last month, the new boss ordered all Barclays employees to sign up to a new ethical code of conduct or quit, as he sought to draw a line under the damaging episode.
In another blow late last year, Barclays revealed that Britain's Serious Fraud Office was probing payments made to Qatar Holding, which it tapped for funds at the height of the 2008 global financial crisis to avoid part-nationalisation.
Bankers' bonuses running into the millions have sparked public fury in Britain since the 2008 global financial crisis.
Last June, Stephen Hester, chief executive of bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland, waived his bonus for the second year running after a computer glitch that left millions of customers temporarily without access to their accounts.
The chief of state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group, Antonio Horta-Osorio, declined to take a 2011 bonus after he took time off work due to illness. No announcement has yet been made over 2012 bonuses.