New brooms should not sweep aside Diamond’s achievements

Marc Sidwell
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BARCLAYS is set to replace its two top positions from outside. That’s damaging in the short-term, because it means a longer process of transition rather than a swift coronation.

Yet those who favour a pair of new brooms point to the longer-term, saying it will be a clean break with Bob Diamond’s controversial reign. There’s a danger of confusing babies and bathwater here. Diamond’s achievements remain singular. He built up a world-class investment bank to bring in the lion’s share of Barclays’ revenues and profits – £4.78bn in pre-tax profits in 2010, as against £850m for retail banking across the UK and Western Europe.

The Libor scandal damages, but should not destroy that legacy. The trick must be to deal firmly with the issues while leaving the best parts of its culture of success intact. Leaving Rich Ricci at the helm of the investment bank might just do that.

Marc Sidwell is City A.M.’s managing editor