Barclays boss Jes Staley unveiled a reshuffle among its most senior executives, promoting a clutch of long-serving bankers as the UK lender looks for closer links between its investment banking, trading and corporate banking units.
C. S. Venkatakrishnan, the group’s chief risk officer, has been named head of global markets, replacing Stephen Dainton, who has held the role since June 2019, according to Staley’s memo to staff seen by Financial News.
Venkatakrishnan also becomes co-president of the bank alongside Paul Compton, the former chief operating officer, who has overseen Barclays’ corporate and investment bank since the departure of Tim Throsby last year.
Dainton, who was initially brought in from Credit Suisse as global head of equities in 2017, will become deputy head of markets, according to the memo. The changes come into force on 5 October.
A series of other senior executives have been handed new responsibilities as part of the shake-up. Joe McGrath, its global head of banking, will become chairman of investment banking, the memo said. Taalib Shaah, currently chief risk officer for Barclays International — which includes most of its businesses aside from its UK retail operation — will become group chief risk officer following Venkatakrishnan’s promotion.
Barclays has been contacted for comment.
The appointments of Compton and Venkatakrishnan now mean that the UK lender’s investment bank is run by its former chief operations officer and chief risk officer. This is a break from industry norms, where experienced dealmakers or senior traders usually take the reins of the businesses.
Barclays’ markets business has surged this year as large investment banks have benefited from volatility caused by the Covid-19 crisis, with the UK lender beating its European rivals with a 63% increase in revenues to £4.6bn.
However, the lender has still faced ongoing pressure from its biggest shareholder to shrink the unit. In August, activist investor Edward Bramson — whose firm Sherborne Investors holds a 5.8% stake in Barclays — said that the bank should look to mimic rival Deutsche Bank in shrinking its global markets business.
Deutsche Bank has been stripping out around €100bn in risk-weighted assets from its business since unveiling a massive overhaul in July 2019 that also saw it exit equities trading, pull back from certain parts of investment banking and cut 18,000 jobs. Bramson has previously called Barclays’ markets business “black box” with too much leverage, which dilutes shareholder returns.
Meanwhile, the latest changes follow some other moves in Barclays’ markets business. Fater Belbachir, who quit for Citigroup in May after around 10 months leading equities trading at the UK lender. He became global head of Citi’s stock trading unit as part of a broader shake-up of the division, Financial News has reported.
The bank replaced him with Todd Sandoz and Paul Leech as co-heads of global equities in September, having appointed them as interim heads in May.
Barclays’ advisory business has continued to hire senior dealmakers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. It brought in Manuel Esteve from JPMorgan in August, as head of equity capital markets business in continental Europe, following on from the appointment of Rothschild banker Philipp Gillmann, who joined as as head of logistics Banking for Emea.
Barclays ranked sixth for investment banking revenues in the first nine months of 2020, according to data provider Dealogic, with $2.3bn, down from fifth at the same point last year.