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Barclays CEO Bob Diamond quits

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - 02:11

July 03 - Bob Diamond, CEO of Barclays, has quit with immediate effect. He's the highest-profile casualty of an interest-rate rigging scandal that includes more than a dozen major banks around the world. Sonia Legg reports

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He'd vowed to fight on but on Tuesday morning Bob Diamond bowed to what many considered the inevitable and resigned. He'd been CEO of the UK's third-largest bank for just 18 months. His departure with immediate effect follows the scandal over rate-rigging which led to Barclays being fined almost half a billion dollars. "The external pressure placed on Barclays has reached a level that risks damaging the franchise," he said "I cannot let that happen." On Monday the UK government ordered an inquiry into the scandal and Finance Minister George Osborne welcomed Diamond's decision. SOUNDBITE: British Finance Minister George Osborne, saying (English): "I think Bob Diamond's made the right decision for Barclays, also the right decision for the country because we need our banks to be focused on lending to the economy, not on the scandals of the past, and I hope this will be the first step towards a new culture of responsibility in British banking which is what the British people want to see." The investigation into the manipulation of Libor - the London interbank lending rate - involves at least a dozen major banks across the globe. Diamond is its highest profile victim and his resignation comes just a day after the bank's Chairman Marcus Agius announced he was stepping down. Agius will stay until a new chairman is in place - it's now thought he will also help find a replacement CEO. Diamond is one of the world's most successful bankers. He joined Barclays in 1996 and ran its investment arm during the rate-rigging period. But he attracted headlines for the wrong reasons. Last year he controversially told UK MPs is was time to stop bank bashing SOUNDBITE: Bob Diamond, Former Barclays CEO, saying (English): "There was a period of remorse and apology from banks. I think that period needs to be over." A former MP once called him the "unacceptable face of banking." On top of his 1.3m pound salary he had been in line to receive many millions more in payouts and bonuses. He waived the extras after the latest scandal but few were surprised by his departure - only the timing of it. He's due to give evidence on Wednesday to UK MPs about the bank's actions. Some reports suggest he will reveal potentially embarrassing details about Barclays' dealings with regulators. Barclays shares were up one percent in early trade following the announcement. Sonia Legg, Reuters

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Barclays CEO Bob Diamond quits

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - 02:11