Barclays Plc.'s (BCS) chief executive Bob Diamond has fired as many as 30 bankers for violating his newly imposed "no-jerk" rule and acting in a way that embarrasses the company, The Times reported.
"Everyone gets stressed from time to time but no one should ever not be nice. You know what a jerk is when you see it," Diamond said in an interview with the Times.
Diamond said the rule is to encourage bankers who behave like "prima donnas," too greedy and ostentatious to work at Barclays, to find work elsewhere.
"If someone can't behave with their colleagues and can't be part of the culture, it doesn't matter how good they are at what they do, they have to be asked to leave," he said in the report.
"Jerk" bankers are epitomized by an "embarrassing" incident in 2002 at the Gordon Ramsay restaurant Petrus in London, Diamond said.
Six Barclays bankers spent more than £44,000 ($68,648) in alcohol over lunch to celebrate a successful deal. Five of them left their posts after their "infamous" squander of wealth.
The enforcement of the "no-jerk" rule comes at a time of increased scrutiny over executive compensation, but it raises the question of whether well-paid bankers should "behave" just so they can continue to receive lucrative bonuses without evoking public criticism.
Diamond himself was awarded as much as 10 million pounds -- $16 million at the current exchange rate -- in salary, bonuses and stock, making him U.K.'s top-paid bank CEO.
Yet, Diamond's compensation still lags behind what his competitors make here on Wall Street. Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) was awarded $17.4 million in restricted stock for 2010, according to the company's Feb. 17 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The U.K. Treasury is proposing new measures to improve executive compensation transparency at its big banks. These banks are required to disclose reward packages for their highest-paid executives, starting in 2012.
At Barclays, top pay is now 75 times that of the average worker in U.K. In 1979 it was 14.5 times, according to the final report published by the High Pay Commission in U.K.
Barclays's most recent annual filings show that the firm's compensation to income ratio in 2010 has bounced back to 43 percent, from 33 percent in 2009. This ratio was recorded at 44 percent in 2008.
This year, pay for investment bankers at Barclays will be lower, but the actual level has yet to be set, Diamond told the Times.