June 16, 2020 / 5:25 PM / a month ago

UK bank lobbyist resigns over 2008 remarks about financier Staveley

LONDON (Reuters) - A senior British bank lobbyist has resigned over comments he made in 2008 about businesswoman Amanda Staveley, who arranged billions of pounds of rescue financing for Barclays (BARC.L) at the height of the credit crisis when he was at the bank.

FILE PHOTO: Dubai International Capital's chief negotiator Amanda Staveley smiles before the Champions League semi-final first leg soccer match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, April 22, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Stephen Jones, expected to give evidence in a $2 billion London court battle between Staveley and Barclays next month, offered his resignation as chief executive of UK Finance on Tuesday, which the board accepted.

“Stephen has rightly acknowledged that the comments he made in 2008 were inappropriate and do not meet the standards expected of leaders in our industry,” said UK Finance’s chairman, Bob Wigley.

Jones, who was a senior Barclays banker in 2008, told UK Finance staff last week that he could not defend his remarks, which have been referred to in a civil lawsuit against Barclays by Staveley’s PCP Capital private equity group.

“The comments I made ... are wholly inappropriate and do not meet the standards of language and behaviour we rightly expect,” he told staff last week in a memo seen by Reuters.

“As I hope you know, I am and have always been a strong advocate for diversity in all respects,” he added.

He has separately apologised to Staveley, who was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

After a 30-year career in financial services, Jones became the first chief executive of UK Finance, a banking industry body set up in 2017 to represent more than 250 companies across the industry.

PCP’s written opening statement to the court mentions “thoroughly unpleasant comments” by Jones to a colleague about Staveley in 2008 and refers to other personal comments by senior Barclays staff of the time, criticising her professional skill and competence.

Transcripts of internal calls between Barclays executives could be read aloud in the case, which hinges on the terms Barclays offered Qatar and PCP’s syndicate — which included Abu Dhabi investors — for taking part in a 7.3 billion pound ($9.2 billion) cash call in October 2008.

PCP is claiming damages for alleged deceit in a dispute over whether Barclays reneged on representations that PCP’s consortium would get the same terms as Qatar.

Barclays has dismissed the case as misconceived and without merit.

($1 = 0.7949 pounds)

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; editing by Simon Jessop, Kevin Liffey and Jonathan Oatis

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