Bob Diamond to take Barclays hotseat early

Barclays said its investment bank boss Bob Diamond will take over as chief executive of the bank in two weeks, some three months earlier than planned.

Diamond is taking over from John Varley, who is stepping down after six years as chief executive. The bank announced the change in September, when it said the handover would occur at the end of March.

"Over the last three months, John and Bob have made good progress in completing the transition. John's view, with which I and the board agree, is that we are now ready to effect the hand-over," Barclays chairman Marcus Agius said in a statement.