Barclays hires Robert Diamond as new CEO just as Britain forces lenders to divorce investment banking from retail operations

Filed under Corporate Divorce
American investment banker Robert Diamond will be the new CEO of British Barclays bank, according to reports from the Associated Press. This new post comes at a time when Britain is considering legislation similar to Glass Steagall – calling for British banks to divorce investment banking from retail banking. The Glass Steagall Act, a piece of American legislation which called for a similar divorce in the U.S. of investment banking and retail banking was repealed in the 1980 allowing a marriage of the two in what became “too big to fail banks.” But portions of Glass Steagall were re-implemented and another divorce was ordered in 2010 when President Obama signed financial reform into law. What a time for a “casino banker” to take the reins of an outfit like Barclays.
Says the Associated Press:

The 59-year-old American’s rise comes as governments review regulation, including a possibly momentous move in Britain to force lenders to divorce investment banking from retail operations. At home, Barclays may also feel pressure from the government’s austerity drive which will shrink public spending.

Mr. Diamond who has been dubbed the “casino banker” and the “unacceptable face of banking” by many, will move to London with his longtime wife Jennifer where they already own a manse in West London. Mrs. Diamond is surely pleased with her husband’s new gig and this new move to the world’s banking capital. Her husband will get a very nice compensation package, as a starting point, and a tremendous 250% bonus. Again, the Associated Press:

Diamond’s salary will be 1.35 million pounds ($2.08 million) with bonuses of up to 250 percent of that figure. The bank said it also intended to award a long term, performance-based share incentive of 500 percent of base salary in 2011.

Nice. You can bet the Mrs. has no plans to divorce a winner like this anytime soon.