Barclays must take ‘difficult decisions’, says new chief executive Antony Jenkins

In his first public comments since being made chief executive late last month, Mr Jenkins said the bank had to “move quickly and be bold” and said that some of its businesses would have to shrink, reports The Telegraph.

“My expectation is that we will identify sources of inefficiency and underperformance that we will need to change. We will need to take difficult decisions,” he said.

Mr Jenkins has ordered an immediate review of all Barclays’ businesses as his first act following his appointment and said the work could results in some businesses “shrinking”. However, he attempted to head off rumours over the future of the lender’s investment banking arm, saying he was committed to maintaining a “premier investment banking franchise” despite a rash of scandals that have implicated the division in Libor-rigging and mis-selling of complex products to small businesses.

“We know that trust in the Barclays brand has taken major damage over the last few months,” said Mr Jenkins.

Speaking earlier, he told investors in New York at a conference hosted by Barclays that the bank had “made mistakes in recent years”.

“I am committed to addressing these mistakes and to building a business that meets the needs of all our stakeholders,” he said.

Mr Jenkins’ appointment followed the resignation in July of Bob Diamond in the wake of the public and political outcry that followed the bank’s admission that it had attempted to manipulate Libor.

Barclays paid £290m to settle the British and US investigations into its involvement in Libor-rigging and is so far the only bank to have admitted it attempted to manipulate the world’s key borrowing rate.

The bank’s admission is seen as only the first of many with most major banks expected to announce their own settlements in the coming months and years.

Details of how traders at Barclays and other unnamed banks manipulated Libor have led to calls for tighter regulation of such an important financial benchmark.

Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, said at the weekend that the world’s major central banks had agreed to set up a joint body to look into how Libor rates are set.