A Postion of Trust
I attended an interesting speaker lunch this week and one of the key takeaways for me was the speaker's opinion that the board of a company cannot be expected to control the operations of an organisation; they can only set the tone and create a culture where people 'do the right thing'.
This led me to think about the recently announced appointment of Antony Jenkins at Barclays, a man who has spent the past three years running Barclays' much less flashy retail banking division, in sharp contrast to the cut and thrust of Bob Diamond's BarCap origins.
As a lightning rod for criticism in an industry under fire, Barclays needed to move quickly to start rebuilding trust in their organisation. By repositioning themselves as a more consumer focused firm and moving away from the perception of a banking group led by investment bankers into the muddy waters of Libor and other such scandals, they are signalling a return to more traditional banking values.
|© Echo Research Ltd 2012
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Jenkins' appointment is interesting from a reputation management perspective, particularly when seen in the context of Barclays' new chairman, Sir David Walker. The combination of Jenkins, who has been in charge of the somewhat calmer waters of retail banking, together with Walker, who under a previous remit was charged with cleaning up the finance industry as well as creating the seminal report on transparency in the private equity industry, marks a visible shift in Barclays' corporate and reputational positioning.
It remains to be seen if Antony Jenkins and his board can change the culture at Barclays, but there is no doubt that as a figurehead, Jenkins is a valuable commodity. In data gathered by the Echo Sonar online media monitoring and analysis tool around the time of the half year financial results reporting at the end of July, CEOs featured in 29% of all financial results coverage seen globally, with Bob Diamond accounting for 48% of all CEO mentions in this coverage. There's no doubt that if Jenkins can leverage this high profile, he will be in a strong position to restore good will, trust and the expectations of public and shareholders alike.