Barclays' corporate affairs chief Howell James steps down

Howell James, Barclays' vice-chairman for corporate affairs, has resigned from the crisis-hit bank.

Howell James: Stepping down from Barclays
Howell James: Stepping down from Barclays

James, who has served as Barclays’ top comms professional since September 2008, will leave the bank at the end of this year.

His departure follows a summer during which Barclays' reputation was dragged through the mud. The bank admitted attempting to manipulate the Libor and Euribor rates between 2005 and 2009. The scandal led to the resignation of chief executive Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius.

‘I decided over the summer that after four-and-a-half years, it was time to move on,’ James told PRWeek. ‘I joined Barclays at the height of the financial crisis, knowing it would be an adventure. And so it has proved.’

James does not have another role lined up but said he was looking forward to a new challenge and ‘recapturing my life’.

Stephen Doherty, Barclays’ relatively new MD, head of corporate comms, is expected to take full control of the bank’s media team, corporate affairs function and internal comms.

Doherty, former corporate affairs chief at Diageo, joined Barclays at the beginning of July, just as the Libor scandal was unfolding.

With a fresh management team – including new CEO Antony Jenkins and chairman David Walker – Barclays has set about rebuilding its reputation as a priority. It is thought that James acknowledged a completely fresh team was required.

On taking the helm in August, Jenkins admitted: ‘We have made serious mistakes in recent years and clearly failed to keep pace with our stakeholders’ expectations. We have an obligation to all of those stakeholders – customers, clients, shareholders, colleagues and broader society – and a unique opportunity to restore Barclays’ reputation.’

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