Barclays (NYSE: BCS) CEO Bob Diamond resigned Tuesday, the second big name at the bank to quit over the Libor rate-fixing scandal in two days.
Initial public and governmental response showed universal relief that someone has taken responsibility for the spate of banking scandals and the damage to customer confidence in the financial system.
Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius, 65, who announced his resignation on Monday, was widely seen as a sacrifice to fend off calls for Diamond to resign. If so, it was not sufficient. He will be charged with finding a succerssor to Diamond, an American who'd been with Barclays for 16 years.
He's done the right thing, George Osborne, UK Chancellor, said of Diamond. He's done the right thing for his bank. He's done the right thing for the country.
Shares at the world's fourth largest bank responded positively. In pre-market trading in New York, they rose 21 cents to $10.98, still a far cry from their 52-week high of $16.94.
But the resignation of Diamond, 60, one of the longest-serving executives at Barclays, marks merely the start of a whole host of challenges and legal issues to overcome.
As if Barclays did not have enough bad publicity, the revolving door of senior management has caused more uncertainty surrounding the communication and organization of top executives.
It has been my privilege to serve as Barclays chairman for the past six years, Agius said Monday. This has been a period of unprecedented stress and turmoil for the banking industry in particular and for the wider world economy in general. Barclays has remained resilient throughout the crisis, and has worked hard to ensure that today it is a strong, well-capitalized and profitable business.
But last week's events -- evidencing as they do unacceptable standards of behavior within the bank -- have dealt a devastating blow to Barclays reputation. As chairman, I am the ultimate guardian of the bank's reputation. Accordingly, the buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside, he added.
But the buck clearly did not stop with him.
In a surprise announcement posted on the bank's UK RSS feed and not on the bank's website, Diamond announced his own resignation and said Agius will become full-time chairman and will lead the search for a new chief executive.
A spokesperson at Barclays confirmed that Agius' resignation still stands and he will serve only temporarily while a replacement for Diamond is found.
Diamond is the last of Barclays' Big Three to go. John Varley announced in September 2010 he would step down as CEO and did so a year later.