Barclays to name Bob Diamond new chief executive: reports

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British bank Barclays is expected on Tuesday to name American Bob Diamond, one of the world's highest paid bankers, as its new chief executive who will take charge next year, reports said.

Diamond, estimated to be worth around 95 million pounds (145 million dollars, 115 million euros), will succeed John Varley who steps down in March after seven years at the top job, the Times and Financial Times dailies said.

He is currently head of investment banking division, Barclays Capital, which pulled in huge profits in the first six months of this year.

The move could prove controversial as Diamond, 59, has previously been attacked over reports of his huge salary.

He was strongly criticised in April by then British business secretary Peter Mandelson, who branded him the "unacceptable face" of banking after reports of his pay emerged.

Barclays denied claims that Diamond was paid 63 million pounds.

Vince Cable, the current business secretary, has also made critical remarks about investment bankers, whose risky actitivies took much of the blame for plunging Britain into a deep recession from which it is now slowly recovering.

Diamond's lack of experience in high street banking also seems at odds with the government's current aim of trying to encourage Britain's commercial banks to lend more to small businesses, said the Times.

Barclays survived the financial crisis without government support unlike some rivals, because it obtained a seven-billion-pound capital injection largely backed by Abu Dhabi and Qatar -- which have both since trimmed their stakes.

© 2010 AFP

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