By Paul Clarke
Of Financial News
Barclays PLC chief executive Jes Staley said he hopes to be at the helm of the U.K. lender during "kinder winds" and expects to be in charge for at least at least two years, as speculation has grown around a leadership change at the bank.
Mr. Staley said he was "sure I'll be here another couple of years" when asked about his future at the top of Barclays during a call with journalists accompanying the bank's third quarter results, which came in ahead of analyst expectations with profits at 611 million pounds ($799.4 million).
He added that Barclays had a "unique opportunity" to come out of the Covid-19 crisis and "I hope I'm here as part of it."
In February, Barclays kicked of the search for Mr. Staley's successor, bringing in headhunters Spencer Stuart and Egon Zehnder to look to potential candidates, the Financial Times reported. Meanwhile, the bank's largest shareholder Sherborne Investors called for Staley to step down in March over his past business links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Mr. Staley cited Brexit, a "once in a century pandemic" and the need to overhaul the business and offload non-core business units at the beginning of his tenure. "It would be nice to be here in more kinder winds," he said.
In September, Barclays elevated Mr. C S Venkatakrishnan, the group's chief risk officer, to global head of markets and made Paul Compton, its chief operating officer, the head of its investment banking unit. Both men were also named as co-presidents, prompting speculation that they were being primed as potential replacements for Mr. Staley.
Edward Bramson, who heads Sherborne Investors and holds a 5.9% stake in Barclays, has previously called on the bank to ensure a supply of internal candidates to replace Staley. Both Mr. Compton and Mr. Venkatakrishnan worked with Staley at JPMorgan.
Mr. Staley said they were "talented bankers" and that it was important for senior Barclays staff to gain experience of running some of its largest business units. However, he added he was "not quite ready to push off the dock" from his role at the helm of the U.K. lender.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires