LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays’ (BARC.L) new chief executive Antony Jenkins has handed the running of its Continental European retail and business banking division to Curt Hess, currently the division’s chief financial officer, the bank said on Wednesday.
In one of Jenkins’ first significant appointments, Hess will lead the European Retail and Business Banking (ERBB) division, covering Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, where the bank is attempting to cut costs and boost profitability in the face of the deepening euro zone crisis.
Barclays had 951 branches and 8,000 staff across the four countries at the end of June, down from 1,120 branches and 9,300 staff a year earlier as it restructures.
“Whilst we expect the difficult economic climate in Europe to remain for some time, under Curt’s leadership we will continue to manage costs tightly and remain focused on our customers,” Jenkins said in a statement.
Jenkins was promoted to Barclays chief executive last week, from retail and business banking chief executive - a position not yet filled. Jenkins had taken direct control of ERBB since Deanna Oppenheimer quit as UK and European retail banking boss at the end of last year.
Hess became CFO of ERBB in February 2011, and was previously chief financial officer for BarclayCard and Barclays Africa.
ERBB made a loss of 92 million pounds in the six months to the end of June after a 592 million pound loss in 2011, and Barclays is struggling to turn the business around in Spain and Portugal in particular.
Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Greg Mahlich